Critical Analysis of Home Burial by Robert Frost

  Introduction: Robert Frost is a great American poet who has created many creations. Home Burial is one of the greatest creations of him. It is a dramatic dialogue between a husband and with his wife.  

    Form: This poem is considered as a dramatic or pastoral lyric poem in the terms of form, using free-form dialogue rather than strict rhythmic schemes. Frost generally uses five stressed syllables in each line and divides stanzas in terms of lines of speech. Frost splits the iambic pattern in lines 18 and 19, which both emphasizes the couple’s relative, positions physically and provides a graphic illustration of just how far apart they are. Frost also uses this device in lines 31 and 32, 45 and 46, and finally in lines 70 and 71. 

      Summary: Home Burial is a great narrative poem of Robert Frost. In this poem he has described an anxious conversation between a rural husband and wife whose child has recently died. In the beginning of the poem, the wife is standing at the top of a staircase looking at her child’s grave through the window. Her husband, at the bottom of the stairs, does not understand what she is looking at or why she has suddenly become so distressed. The wife dislikes her husband’s obliviousness and attempts to leave the house. The husband begs her to stay and talk to him about her sorrow. He does not understand why she is angry with him for expressing his pain in a different way. Despairing, the wife whips out at him, convinced of his apathy toward their dead child. The husband mildly accepts her anger, but the rift between them remains. She leaves the house as he angrily threatens to drag her back by force.

Somebody think that it is a poem about the love of a mother to her child. A mother gives a child and takes with great care of it; but unfortunately after some days it dies. So, the lady has lost her all hopes. Gradually she becomes very excited and sorrowful but her husband is very normal. He buries his child and does all the activities very easily and normally. He does not face any type of problem. According to his view, it is the rule of nature and nobody can escape it. So, he is very easy and normal but his wife does not agree with him. Gradually, the wife is very angry for the activities of her husband. So, she does not want to stay with him in this house because his husband has buried her child in this house. She cannot endure it easily, so she takes preparation to leave the house. But her husband tries his best to stop her departure. At last the wife leaves the house.   

 Development of Thought: In this poem the poet has described about two tragedies: first, the death of a young child, and second, the death of a marriage. As such, the title “Home Burial,” can be read as a tragic double entendre. Although the death of the child is the substance of the couple’s problems, the larger clash that destroys the marriage is the couple’s inability to interconnect with each other.  The husband is more accepting of the natural cycle of life and death in general, but also chooses to grieve in a more physical manner: by digging the grave for his child. Ironically, the husband’s expression of his grief is completely misunderstood by the wife.

   Setting: The setting of the poem is a staircase with a door at the bottom and a window at the top. The wife stands at the top of the stairs, directly in front of the window overlooking the graveyard, while the husband stands at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at her. While the couple shares the tragedy of their child’s death, they are in conflicting positions in terms of dealing with their woe. The husband has dealt with his sorrow more successfully, as evidenced by his position at the bottom of the staircase, close to the door and the outside world.

 Theme: The theme of Home Burial by Robert Frost is the misapprehension between a husband and a wife.  

  Critical Appreciation: In this poem we have found the behavior of a man and a woman. The author has wanted to show us that the women are emotional. Shakespeare says, ‘Frailty thy name is woman.’ The author has to announce that, a woman is not a woman but a mother. So the wife of the husband is very sad for the death of her child. Actually it is not the fault of the wife to misunderstand her husband; it is the nature of a lady. On the other hand, a man has two powers; one is emotion and another is action. At first the husband tries to control his wife with his emotion but when he fails he applies force or action.     



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