Dealing With Tragedy
In ?Home Burial?, by Robert Frost, a husband and wife grieve differently in the face of the shared loss of their son. This difference is made apparent by
what they refer to as ?talk? and ?speech?. The title, ?Home Burial?, refers to the son?s burial, but also to the deterioration of the parents? relationship. This deterioration does not come from having different methods of mourning, but from their inability to understand or accept each other?s method. This separation represents an overall division between two genders.
The poem begins with the husband looking up a flight of stairs at his wife. She, however, is looking to her son?s gravesite through a window behind her. This opening scene epitomizes each of their outlooks on mourning for their son. The mother looks to the grave because her level of mourning is just as intense as it was when the son first died.
Her grief does not go away with time because she believes that ?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? (102-105). She refuses to make her way back to life and living people because she hasn?t yet accepted the death of her son. Therefore, she looks to her son because she hasn?t yet acknowledged his death. The husband has made this acknowledgement. He has accepted that his son is dead and now looks to move on or he looks to ?living people?. For this reason the scene opens with him looking at his wife.
These differences of their expressions of grief are consistent with their wishes concerning each other?s speech. When the husband discovers that his...