Eng 1123 V02
13 April 2009
Analysis of “Home Burial”
Many of Robert Frost’s poems and short stories are a reflection of his personal life and events. Frost’s short story “Home Burial” emulates his experience living on a farm and the death of two of his sons. Frost gives an intimate view into the life and mind of a married couples’ struggle with grief and the strain it causes to their marriage. The characters Frost describes are synonymous, physically and emotionally, to his own life events. “Home Burial” is a look into a troubled married couples’ relationship and the emotional stress the death of their child has inflicted upon them. Being isolated on a farm in rural Massachusetts, the wife, Amy, has no one to turn to for comfort other than her husband. Amy is suffering from extreme grief due to the loss of her first-born child. She lashes out at her husband for being insensitive and apparently emotionally unaffected by the death of their child. Their conflicting views on grief cause Amy to repress her anger and resent her husband. Her husband’s negligence during their child’s burial triggers a dramatic emotional outburst during her fragile state of mind.
Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California on March 26, 1874. When Frost was eleven, his father died from tuberculosis in 1885 and Robert’s mother took the two children, Robert and Jeanie, to Lawrence, Massachusetts, where they were taken in by the children's
paternal grandparents. Robert and Jeanie grew up in Lawrence, and Robert graduated from high school in 1892. A top student in his class, he shared valedictorian honors with Elinor White, with whom he had already fallen in love. Robert and Elinor shared a deep interest in poetry, but their continued education sent Robert to Dartmouth College and Elinor to St. Lawrence University. Impatient with academic routine, Frost left Dartmouth after less than a year. He and Elinor married in 1895 but found life difficult, and the young poet supported them by teaching school and farming, neither with notable success (Gerber). During the next dozen years, six children were born, two of whom died early, leaving a family of one son and three daughters. Frost resumed his college education at Harvard University in 1897 but left after two years' study there. He later died in 1963.
Family farms were far more common during Frost’s lifetime than they are today. Historically, the majority of the population lived in rural America during the early 20th century, many of which maintained small family farms as a source of income. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, family operated farms have decreased from 6.3 million in 1910 to 2.19 million in 1998. (USDA)
It was not uncommon for a married couple to have three or more children, possibly due to the lack of birth control or free labor. Unfortunately, the death rate among young children was high during this time, due to the lack of vaccines and advanced medical technology. Many of Frosts’ stories reflect the hardships of not only his life, but of the way of life for many families during that time.
During the early 20th century families were simple, no television, internet, and barley radio. People had to find things to do and entertain themselves and each other. Hard work, especially farm work, was also a staple in early 20th century. Since many families were relatively insolated from other people, a very close bond would often be formed between siblings and parents. Fatal illness among people was very high, so families made certain to take full advantage of every minute they had because death could come at any moment. In
“Home Burial” The husband has obviously prepared for death due to it being so common amongst children and apparently Amy is not quite so prepared for the turmoil that follows the death of a child.
Robert Frost uses events from his life and draws on his own personal...