The Theme Of Gender Separation In The Poem Home Burial By Robert Frost.

1264 words - 5 pages

Dealing With TragedyIn ?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 bywhat 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 wife is looking at the gravesite of his child, and speaks openly of the child?s mound, she cries ?Don?t? four times so that he will stop. The husband very much wishes to discuss the death with his wife, but she refuses to allow him. The wife will not discuss her son because she hasn?t taken in his death yet, and she won?t allow speech to ease the pain. The father, on the other hand, who has accepted his son?s death and who wants to move on in life wishes to discuss him.Although this view of each parent?s independent mourning is visible to the reader, the husband and wife have very different conceptions of each other?s mourning. The mother sees the father?s openly dealing with the son?s death as an insensitive callousness. In some mild ways this is true, like when the father makes an inappropriate connection between the graveyard and a bedroom. However, in other cases where the wife perceives callousness she is mistaken. At one point she is angry with her husband for burying their son himself. She doesn?t understand how he could be in the emotional state to be able to do this. She was angry that her husband returned from the outside and spoke about his every day concerns, about how ?Three foggy mornings and one rainy day / Will rot the best birch fence a man can build? (92-93)....

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