Blaming in Home Burial

Essay by dholland05University, Bachelor'sA, November 2014

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Dawn Holland

John Lowery

ENG 425

08 November 2014

Whose Fault Is It Anyway

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was a master storyteller who used words which allow the reader to fill in the details. Frost's "Home Burial" (1915) is just such a piece. This particular work is a brief dialogue between a husband and wife, following the recent death of their son. Rather than lay blame for their crumbling marriage on either party, Frost invites the reader to pass judgment. Looking at the situation from a woman's perspective, it is almost too easy to lay the bulk of the blame on the man.

In the opening lines, the woman was standing at the top of the stairs "Looking back over her shoulder at some fear" (Frost, 1915). Whatever had caught her attention, now holds all of her concentration as "He saw her…Before she saw him" (Frost, 1915). Rather than quietly observe his wife, or just turn and leave her with her thoughts, the husband questions "What is it you see…I want to know" (Frost, 1915).

So intensely caught up inside her own thoughts, she cannot speak "She turned and sank upon her skirts" (Frost, 1915). Again he questions her advancing up the stairs "until she cowered under him" (Frost, 1915). Believing him to possess the limited powers of perceptions of a man, she tells herself "…let him look…he wouldn't see" (Frost, 1915). However it does dawn upon him as to what she was always looking at "Oh…I see…the little graveyard…the child's mound" (Frost, 1915). Even though he is correct, she maintains he cannot possibly understand how she feels. Rather than hold her ground, she chooses to flee "I must get out of here. I must get air" (Frost, 1915). Her husband insists she stay "Don't go to someone else...