Analysis of Home Burial
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 experiences in his writing; hence most of his work is based on death. His life was full of tragedy, one of his main outlets for his stress was writing poems and short stories.
In “Home Burial”, Frost is using the characters in the story as a vehicle to play out the hard times he himself encounters when his children died. The story has an uncanny resemblance to his life during the time when he and his wife were dealing with their son’s death. Amy appears to be suffering from extreme grief due to the loss of her first-born child. However, due to her unusual grieving pattern, Amy is not suffering only from grief but also from major depression.
The five stages of grief are Denial, Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Amy is having difficulty moving through these five stages of grief and is trapped in the anger and denial stage. Her husband’s insensitivity during their child’s burial triggers a dramatic emotional outburst during her fragile state of mind. This insensitivity is evidenced by Amy’s saying, “If you had any feelings, you that dug with your own hand how could you? ” (Frost 1131). This statement by Amy signifies that she is using her husband’s apparent insensitivity as an outlet for her anger. Amy’s husband apparently agitates and intensifies her feeling, which clearly demonstrates signs of an acute mood disorder.
Amy is having difficulty with depression as well. She is unable to move to the last stage of grief, acceptance, until then she will be stuck in the same stage, reliving the same emotions over and over until she is able to cope with the feelings that were aroused in her, and move on to the subsequent stages. Amy’s husband seems to be coping with the loss of their child well. He has successfully completed the five stage of grief, has overcome, and accepted the child’s death. A viable explanation for her husband’s lack of depression is that women are two times more likely than men to suffer from depression.
According to research preformed by psychologist Susan Hoeksema, “Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with major depression. ” (Psychology 600) “Home Burial” can be utilized as insight into the culture and behavior of early 20th century families and can be used to understand the evolution of human behavior throughout the generations. Through the advancement of medical technology, we can now cure diseases that would normally be a death sentence in the early part of the 20th century. In addition, advancements in handling emotionally and psychologically unstable people have evolved from the behavior of the past generations.
Studying literature and people from the past will aid in the development of a new understanding in the psychology and culture of people. During the course of this assignment, I have learned various techniques writer’s use when writing their stories.
In “Home Burial”, Robert Frost draws from his own personal experiences to create a poem that will analyzed by millions of students for many years to come. Also, by reading and analyzing Frost’s and other authors work, I have a deeper understand of what goes into these stories and in turn will help me to write better essays and stories.