In the poem “Home Burial”, the main theme is the family’s fate from the interpersonal feelings and marital communications in the severe environment that surrounds the characters. In essence, the poem is a depiction of great annoyance, sadness and asphyxiating anger, which the couple is forced to come into terms with after the decease of their son. In addition, the couple is also faced with the challenge of coping with their own contradictory and dysfunctional survival mechanisms.
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In a marriage setup, arguments and disagreements are bound to come up, but the poet tailors the dialogue between the couple as a rather heated one that results in an endless impasse. The husband is angered and he tries to bring forth a dialogue, since he does not get to find out what his wife sees at the top of the stairs. The poet’s aim of getting us into the characters’ living room is solely to evoke the readers’ empathy towards the couple, given their predicament and the status quo of the vis-à-vis situation with the wife.
Human feelings are provocative in several ways and could result into drastic actions by an individual on an issue; but the wife does not let out her feelings clearly due to the improper form of communication the couple uses. In fact, when the husband approaches, her faces immediately changes from terrified to a dull one. The manner in which the couple communicates is terribly ineffective and does not achieve sincerity, since the wife only holds up to her husband’s inquisition to find his disdain. The chance to confide in her husband and rest her worries is deep buried, and much distress weighs on her. As the case would be with any other spouse, the husband is aggravated and persistently wonders what her wife could be seeing from the top of the stairs (Parini 64).
Intrinsically, both spouses have different perspectives; hence, there is a difference in the way they take the predicament at hand. The wife is extremely tormented, disturbed and emotionally drawn by the loss of their son. On the other hand, the husband does not quite comprehend why his spouse is in such deep-rooted sorrow and demands an explanation. Given the differences that exist between them, the confrontation gets to a full-blown anguished disagreement, which is utterly irreconcilable. Psychologically, women are more emotional than men; hence the wife is suffering a great deal since the emotion is taking a toll on her, whereas her husband is not in such a psychological position to comfort her emotionally. The most important aspect of the impasse is symbolic physical position of both spouses, in which the wife is at the top of the stairs and the husband is downstairs. The poet is simply giving the difference in the level of disillusionment. The wife’s physical position at the top is symbolic of the degree of emotional loss that the death of their son has caused her. On the other hand, the husband is physically positioned downstairs, which symbolizes that he is less disturbed by the issue in comparison to his wife (Pritchard 76).
The loss of an only child is a substantial storm, and the emotional turmoil is extreme in such a way that the husband’s love is of no aid to the wife. Although the ordeal has struck both spouses as a couple, they take in differently; and the effects of the grief are indeed different as well. The wife is standing at the top of the stairs staring outside through the window at the grave of their only child and is yet to accept the loss. In addition, she does not get it at any point why her husband takes the death of their son so lightly, as it seems to her. The husband looks at the bed-size grave, which signifies the child’s conception at the mere bedroom and the consequent lifelessness. Given that the husband has already gotten over the issue, this becomes the backbone of his lack of understanding of how his wife takes the loss of their only child.
It is evident that there is significant alienation between the two spouses mainly because of the bereavement and the lack of effective communication. Typically, the couple has become more alienated from each other due to the loss they have encountered amplified by the lack of mutual understanding. The tone of the poem is sad all through; the couple expresses their grief differently, which pulls them apart since they fail to establish a way of consoling each other.
In this instance, human relations are at parity and the wife perceives the husband to be too unemotional to have dug the grave of his only son. The social adjustment after the bereavement is not easy for either of the two, but the lesson here is that humans should create a room of understanding for other people as well.
The husband has seen a lot of grief, given that he lost his father, mother and now his son. It is as if death has stricken him mercilessly taking his beloved family members one by one. His son has died at an early age of three and this brings in the theme of death. The other theme that the plot has featured is human relations and the emotional disparity between different genders. To the husband, the series of deaths of his beloved members is sorrowful issue that he bitterly accepts. However, the wife is so discontent with life that the death of their only child translates into the death of their marriage to some degree. Therefore, it is clear that the aspect of tragedy troubles both parties (Randall 91). In the first case, in “Home Burial”, the family looses their child and later their relationship and marriage. In the case of Frost, he loses his father, whom he loved very much, and his wife, whom he loved even more and who was a source of inspiration for his poetry career.
The other important aspect that is observed in both cases is the aspect of love. In “Home Burial”, the woman seemed to have loved the child so much that the memory of the baby never escaped her mind. Her love for the child led to the death of her marriage (Randall 94). There is no doubt that Robert Frost loved his father because he really showed his grief when the father died. The same happened when his wife, Elinor, died. This means that the aspect of love was very strong, because Frost was indeed affected by the death of both people, especially his wife, who was inspiration of his life and poetry (Pritchard 103).
The poem “Home Burial” reflects Frost’s life, however, in a symbolic way, as the theme and the story line of the poem portrays the events that happened in his own life. The poem talks about a woman who grieved for the death of her child; and this death led to the death of her marriage because she felt that her husband had never understood her. Frost was also robbed of his parents while being still young, and after some time passed and the life seemed to become calm and happy, his wife, whom he really loved, also passed away. Thus, in “Home Burial”, Frost described his personal tragedy and shared his own feelings.
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