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Robert Frost's Home Burial Essay

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Robert Frost's Home Burial

Robert Frost's dramatic dialogue poem, "Home Burial," is the story of a short, but important, episode in the marriage of a typical New England farm couple. They are "typical" because their "public" personalities are stoic and unimaginative, and because their lives are set within the stark necessities of northeastern American farm life. Yet, they are also typical in that their emotions are those one might expect of young parents who have abruptly and, to them, inexplicably lost their baby. Although their emotions would not, one presumes, be openly displayed to the community, the poem's reader is privileged to view them personally and intimately through the small window opened by the poet.

To some
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In fact, when he does see, she cannot believe it, and "challenges" him to tell her what he does realize. Of course, when he clearly explains his insight as she has asked, she turns that explanation against him also. She "turned on him with such a daunting look" that he blurts his own grief, his own need to "speak of his own child he's lost."
Immediately, she delivers her verdict, a mocking disbelief that he, or any man, has the right (or the ability) to speak of such a subject.

He begs not only for understanding, but also for some concession, some arrangement by which he can know what to say or do and what to leave unsaid and undone. More than once he indicates that at least one of the most unacceptable aspects of her flight from him is the implication that she goes to someone or somewhere else: First "Amy! Don't go to someone else this time," then "Don't --don't go. Don't carry it to someone else this time." As the father and husband, he quite reasonably assumes that it is his place to share her grief. The repetition of "this time" also seems to indicate that she has refused to share her feelings with him before. That he loves her is clear from his pleading; that there has been no foundation of shared emotions within this marriage is also clear.

As a mother, and one who has lost a newborn child, I know that such grief must be shared between husband and wife if a marriage is to remain. Amy's reasoning is based on her own grief-distorted imagining and the
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