Home Burial by Robert Frost
Robert Frost wrote the poem Home Burial after he and his wife suffered the tragic loss of their 4-year-old son. Home Burial shows the emotions people feel after such a loss, and how they face those emotions. Through Frost’s experience he shows that men and women grieve in different ways. In Home Burial Frost demonstrates, through the husband, that in the grieving process men tend to show strength. Throughout the poem you see the husband proceed to do his everyday tasks.
The husband states, “Three foggy mornings and one rainy day are enough to rot the best birch fence a man could build. ”(Robert Frost). Here is just one example of how the husband is trying to move forward through work. Another example of how the husband tries to continue with life is seen in this statement he makes, “Can’t a man speak of his own child he’s lost? ”(Frost). In addition to work, the husband tries to get past their loss by speaking of his child. He does not want to forget about his child.
Through the use of words, the husband can keep the memory of that child alive; while at the same time get adjusted to the fact that his child is dead. We see through the eyes of Frost, that as the strength and breadwinner of the family, the husband tries to heal his wife Amy’s grief, fix her. Speaking to Amy he says, “There you have said it all and you feel better. ”(Frost). Robert Gale, a critic of the poem says, “He puts too much faith in words. ”(Robert Gale). The husband, in trying to fix Amy’s grief, wants her to believe that since she has verbally stated how she feels, she can now move on.
He fails to realize that the pain Amy feels runs deeper than just words, or doesn’t want to believe that his pain over the loss of their child runs just as deep. The husband wants Amy to confide in him, and we see this when he says, “Don’t carry it to someone else this time. ”(Frost). He wants to be the man of the house and be able to make everything the way it was. He wants to be the one who helps Amy get past the pain of the child they lost. He feels that as her husband, she should share her thoughts and feelings with only him. Only he can help her through this horrible time in their life.
If Amy goes to someone else, he will feel as if he is useless as a man, since he couldn’t help his wife get over her grief, or keep his child from death. In the poem we see that in times of grief, women tend to show weakness and the need for isolation. Amy seems to be wallowing in her own sorrows. Gale states,” She risks burying both her marriage and her sanity. ”(Gale). Amy feels that she is the only one in pain over the loss of their child, and does not recognize that just because her husband does not openly show his emotions, that he too has been affected by their child’s death.
She wants to leave and get out of the house, instead of seeking comfort from her husband. Everything in the house, including her husband, reminds her of her dead child. She sees nothing but death and has, in a sense, died herself. She always stares out the window at the child’s mound and cannot get past the fact that her husband was the one that buried their child. The husband asks Amy “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? ”(Frost).
The husband is trying to show Amy that he is there for her. He cannot understand why his love just isn’t enough to get her through this. In Amy’s eyes, not even his love can fill the empty space in her heart that her child has taken with it to the grave. She feels that as long as she grieves for her child, that her child will always be with her, and she with it. Gale says, “He wants to be allowed into her grief. ”(Gale). Amy refuses to allow this to happen. She will not let him share her pain or even get close enough to try to understand it.
She continuously isolates him and will not communicate with him. For Amy, talking about her grief and the loss of their child can only bring her more pain. In the poem Frost allows you to see the isolation when he tells you, “She withdrew shrinking from beneath his arm. ”(Frost). Amy is very careful to keep her distance from her husband, because he is the one that put their child in the ground. When the husband spoke of rotting birch fences, she associated this with the rotting corpse of their child.
She sees her husband as unfeeling and unemotional about their child. Since she will not communicate with him, she cannot understand how he could just bury their child and not give it a second thought. Home Burial opens the eyes of the reader. It allows one to see the different ways people grieve. It shows that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and that just because two people don’t show their grief in the same manner it does not mean that one person is in more pain than the other.