'Home Burial' by Robert Lee Frost
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He saw her from the bottom of the stairs
Before she saw him.She was starting down,
Looking back over her shoulder at some fear.
She took a doubtful step and then undid it
To raise herself and look again.He spoke
Advancing toward her:'What is it you see
From up there always--for I want to know.'
She turned and sank upon her skirts at that,
And her face changed from terrified to dull.
He said to gain time:'What is it you see,'
Mounting until she cowered under him.
'I will find out now--you must tell me, dear.'
She, in her place, refused him any help
With the least stiffening of her neck and silence.
She let him look, sure that he wouldn't see,
Blind creature; and awhile he didn't see.
But at last he murmured, 'Oh,' and again, 'Oh.'
'What is it--what?' she said.
'Just that I see.'
'You don't,' she challenged.'Tell me what it is.'
'The wonder is I didn't see at once.
I never noticed it from here before.
I must be wonted to it--that's the reason.
The little graveyard where my people are!
So small the window frames the whole of it.
Not so much larger than a bedroom, is it?
There are three stones of slate and one of marble,
Broad-shouldered little slabs there in the sunlight
On the sidehill.We haven't to mind those.
But I understand:it is not the stones,
But the child's mound--'
'Don't, don't, don't, don't,' she cried.
She withdrew shrinking from beneath his arm
That rested on the bannister, and slid downstairs;
And turned on him with such a daunting look,
He said twice over before he knew himself:
'Can't a man speak of his own child he's lost?'
'Not you!Oh, where's my hat?Oh, I don't need it!
I must get out of here.I must get air.
I don't know rightly whether any man can.'
'Amy!Don't go to someone else this time.
Listen to me.I won't come down the stairs.'
He sat and fixed his chin between his fists.
'There's something I should like to ask you, dear.'
'You don't know how to ask it.'
'Help me, then.'
Her fingers moved the latch for all reply.
'My words are nearly always an offense.
I don't know how to speak of anything
So as to please you.But I might be taught
I should suppose.I can't say I see how.
A man must partly give up being a man
With women-folk.We could have some arrangement
By which I'd bind myself to keep hands off
Anything special you're a-mind to name.
Though I don't like such things 'twixt those that love.
Two that don't love can't live together without them.
But two that do can't live together with them.'
She moved the latch a little.'Don't--don't go.
Don't carry it to someone else this time.
Tell me about it if it's something human.
Let me into your grief.I'm not so much
Unlike other folks as your standing there
Apart would make me out.Give me my chance.
I do think, though, you overdo it a little.
What was it brought you up to think it the thing
To take your mother--loss of a first child
So inconsolably--in the face of love.
You'd think his memory might be satisfied--'
'There you go sneering now!'
'I'm not, I'm not!
You make me angry.I'll come down to you.
God, what a woman!And it's come to this,
A man can't speak of his own child that's dead.'
'You can't because you don't know how to speak.
If you had any feelings, you that dug
With your own hand--how could you?--his little grave;
I saw you from that very window there,
Making the gravel leap and leap in air,
Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly
And roll back down the mound beside the hole.
I thought, Who is that man?I didn't know you.
And I crept down the stairs and up the stairs
To look again, and still your spade kept lifting.
Then you came in.I heard your rumbling voice
Out in the kitchen, and I don't know why,
But I went near to see with my own eyes.
You could sit there with the stains on your shoes
Of the fresh earth from your own baby's grave
And talk about your everyday concerns.
You had stood the spade up against the wall
Outside there in the entry, for I saw it.'
'I shall laugh the worst laugh I ever laughed.
I'm cursed.God, if I don't believe I'm cursed.'
'I can repeat the very words you were saying.
"Three foggy mornings and one rainy day
Will rot the best birch fence a man can build."
Think of it, talk like that at such a time!
What had how long it takes a birch to rot
To do with what was in the darkened parlor.
You couldn't care!The nearest friends can go
With anyone to death, comes so far short
They might as well not try to go at all.
No, from the time when one is sick to death,
One is alone, and he dies more alone.
Friends make pretense of following to the grave,
But before one is in it, their minds are turned
And making the best of their way back to life
And living people, and things they understand.
But the world's evil.I won't have grief so
If I can change it.Oh, I won't, I won't!'
'There, you have said it all and you feel better.
You won't go now.You're crying.Close the door.
The heart's gone out of it:why keep it up.
Amy!There's someone coming down the road!'
'You--oh, you think the talk is all.I must go--
Somewhere out of this house.How can I make you--'
'If--you--do!'She was opening the door wider.
'Where do you mean to go?First tell me that.
I'll follow and bring you back by force.I will!--'
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Heart-Wrenching Emotions of "Home Burial"
Have you ever been in a situation where everything around you feels like it's falling apart? A situation that makes you question everything you ever knew? Robert Frost's "Home Burial" is a poem that captures the heart-wrenching emotions of a couple dealing with the loss of their child. As we delve into the poem, we'll explore the themes of grief, communication, and isolation, among others.
The Grief of Parents
The poem is set in a rural New England farmhouse, where the couple is dealing with the loss of their child. Amy, the mother, is in the midst of grieving while her husband is trying to make sense of their situation. The first line of the poem sets a somber tone, "He saw her from the bottom of the stairs before she saw him." This line foreshadows the emotional distance between the two characters.
As the poem progresses, we see Amy struggling with her grief. She's angry at her husband for not grieving in the same way that she is. She's angry that he's able to go about his day-to-day life while she's consumed by the loss of their child. Frost captures this anger when he writes, "Don't, don't, don't, don't," / She cried, as she rocked him back and forth." The repetition of "don't" emphasizes Amy's anger and frustration.
One of the themes that Frost explores in "Home Burial" is the breakdown of communication between the couple. They're unable to communicate their feelings and emotions to each other, which only serves to intensify their grief.
Amy is unable to express her feelings to her husband, and he's unable to understand her. This is evident when Amy says, "You don't understand," and the husband responds with, "I understand." They're talking past each other, and neither is able to empathize with the other's point of view.
The Isolation of Grief
Frost highlights the isolation that grief can cause. Both Amy and her husband are isolated in their grief, unable to connect with each other. This isolation is evident when Amy says, "There's something I should like to ask you, dear." She wants to connect with her husband, but she's unable to do so.
The physical setting reinforces this isolation. The poem takes place in a rural farmhouse, which is isolated from the outside world. The couple is alone with their grief, without any external support.
The Visual Imagery of "Home Burial"
Frost's use of visual imagery is powerful in "Home Burial." He describes the physical setting in great detail, which adds to the emotional intensity of the poem. The stark contrast between the outside world and the farmhouse is evident when Frost writes, "The little graveyard where my people are!" / He said to her, "Don't you see that tree? / The tree thrown at her by the hurricane last year. / I haven't dared to look at it since." The graveyard represents death and loss, while the tree represents the external world and the chaos that's beyond their control.
The use of color imagery is also effective in "Home Burial." The color red is used several times in the poem, which represents the emotional intensity of the situation. When Amy sees her husband, "Her face was white." When she cries out "Don't," her face turns red. These descriptions emphasize the emotional turmoil that Amy is going through.
In conclusion, "Home Burial" is a powerful poem that captures the heart-wrenching emotions of a couple dealing with the loss of their child. Frost explores themes of grief, communication, and isolation, among others. The physical setting, visual imagery, and color imagery all add to the emotional intensity of the poem. "Home Burial" is a poem that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Home Burial: A Masterpiece of Robert Lee Frost
Robert Lee Frost, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, is known for his profound and insightful poems that explore the complexities of human emotions and relationships. Among his many works, "Home Burial" stands out as a masterpiece that captures the raw emotions of grief, loss, and isolation. In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve into the themes, symbols, and literary devices used in "Home Burial" to understand its significance and impact on the world of poetry.
The poem "Home Burial" was first published in 1914 and is a dramatic dialogue between a husband and wife who have just lost their child. The poem is set in a rural New England farm, and the couple's grief is palpable from the very beginning. The poem opens with the wife, Amy, watching her husband, the farmer, bury their child in the family graveyard. The husband, who is not named in the poem, is portrayed as stoic and unemotional, while Amy is consumed by her grief and anger.
The poem is structured as a dialogue between the two characters, with each stanza representing a different exchange. The dialogue is tense and fraught with emotion, as the couple struggles to communicate their feelings to each other. The poem is a powerful exploration of the breakdown of communication in a relationship, and the devastating consequences that can result.
One of the central themes of "Home Burial" is the isolation and loneliness that can result from grief. Amy is consumed by her grief and feels completely alone in her pain. She is unable to connect with her husband, who seems distant and unfeeling. In one of the most poignant lines of the poem, Amy says, "There's something I should like to ask you, dear." The use of the word "dear" here is ironic, as it highlights the emotional distance between the couple. Amy is desperate for connection and support, but her husband is unable or unwilling to provide it.
Another theme of the poem is the breakdown of communication in a relationship. The couple's inability to communicate effectively is a major source of tension and conflict. The husband is unable to understand Amy's grief, and Amy is unable to express her feelings in a way that he can understand. The poem is a powerful reminder of the importance of communication in a relationship, and the devastating consequences that can result when it breaks down.
The poem is also rich in symbolism, with several key symbols that add depth and meaning to the text. One of the most important symbols in the poem is the graveyard. The graveyard represents death and loss, and serves as a reminder of the couple's grief. The graveyard is also a symbol of the couple's isolation, as they are the only ones in the cemetery. The graveyard is a powerful symbol of the couple's pain and isolation, and adds depth and meaning to the poem.
Another important symbol in the poem is the staircase. The staircase represents the couple's emotional distance from each other. The husband is upstairs, while Amy is downstairs. The staircase is a physical representation of the emotional distance between the couple, and serves as a powerful symbol of their isolation and loneliness.
The poem is also rich in literary devices, with several key devices that add depth and meaning to the text. One of the most important literary devices in the poem is the use of dialogue. The poem is structured as a dialogue between the husband and wife, with each stanza representing a different exchange. The use of dialogue is a powerful way to explore the breakdown of communication in a relationship, and adds depth and meaning to the poem.
Another important literary device in the poem is the use of imagery. Frost uses vivid and powerful imagery to bring the poem to life. For example, in one stanza, he writes, "The little graveyard where my people are!" The use of the word "little" here is a powerful image that conveys the smallness and fragility of life. The imagery in the poem is a powerful way to explore the themes of grief, loss, and isolation.
In conclusion, "Home Burial" is a masterpiece of poetry that explores the complexities of human emotions and relationships. The poem is a powerful reminder of the importance of communication in a relationship, and the devastating consequences that can result when it breaks down. The poem is rich in symbolism and literary devices, and is a powerful exploration of grief, loss, and isolation. Robert Lee Frost's "Home Burial" is a timeless work of art that continues to resonate with readers today, and is a testament to the power of poetry to capture the human experience.
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