by Robert Frost
Lines 112-120 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
"There, you have said it all and you feel better.
You won't go now. You're crying. Close the door.
The heart's gone out of it: why keep it up.
Amy! There's someone coming down the road!"
- Now that the woman has exploded in this long rant, we can get this fight over with, right?
- Well, her husband certainly thinks so.
- Without replying to anything specific that she's said, he just assumes that, because she has said everything, she must feel better now. He assumes that she won't leave, because she's crying, and so he tells her to close the door. He reads into her emotions, telling her that her heart's no longer in storming out.
- Obviously, though, he's saying what he wishes she were feeling, and not what she's actually feeling, even though he doesn't seem to be aware of this. She's not collapsing into his arms in relief, but still standing with the door open.
- We can see that she's hardly listening to him, as he still needs to say her name urgently, which we know thanks to the exclamation mark. He points out that there's someone coming down the road as if it's a big surprise to him. Maybe he's relieved that someone's coming to interrupt their fight, or maybe he's afraid of another person seeing them in such a state. Either way, we know this scene has to come to a close somehow.
"You—oh, you think the talk is all. I must go—
Somewhere out of this house. How can I make you—"
- After she hears the urgency in her husband's voice, the woman at least gives him a verbal response.
- This response attempts to show him how he's wrong. She hardly knows what to say to him, perhaps because his words are so far from right about what she's feeling. So, with a little stumbling that shows her frustration in the form of the words "You," and "oh," and her short, choppy statements, she accuses him of thinking that "the talk is all."
- What is wrong about his words, she is saying, is that he's assuming that just by talking about her dead child, she'll feel better about it. Her reaction is telling him, clearly, that he is dead wrong. Just talking about it won't make it instantly better. She's hurt and grieving deeply, so deeply that this loss has warped her thoughts about life, death, and friendship in general. For her, right now, no amount of talking about it will make her pain go away, no matter whom she's talking to.
- She frantically claims that she must go somewhere out of the house. This gives us the sense that she feels trapped inside this place, alone with this man, whom she no longer feels that she knows.
- She starts to say "How can I make you," but he cuts her off.
- Think about how you would fill in the rest of this sentence. It could read, "How could I make you understand," or "How could I make you let me go," or a number of things. But no matter how it would have been finished, its chopped off, urgent nature shows us how frustrated she is, and how hopeless she feels.
- These last few lines are the dramatic climax of this poem. The long monologues are over and we're into short, frantic dialogue. Someone is coming down the road, which makes for tension—will he convince her to stay, or will she make like a banana and split?
"If—you—do!" She was opening the door wider.
"Where do you mean to go? First tell me that.
I'll follow and bring you back by force. I will!—"
- In response to her frustration and her wish to leave the house, the man threatens her with an unknown "if," implying that something bad will happen if she leaves. The dashes in the middle of his words show that he's annunciating each word very clearly and slowly. He is furious—if we were the woman, we would totally be scared.
- She is brave, though, and in response to his threat, she opens the door even wider. She's really threatening to peace out, now.
- At this, he cools it on the anger a little, and asks her where she is going, which, we'd agree, is something that you should probably tell your husband before you storm out of the house, just to save him from worrying.
- But before you go thinking he's just worried about her safety, the real reason comes out in the next line. No matter where she's headed, he intends to follow her and haul her back to the house.
- He ends the poem with this threat, and, in the fashion of the rest of the poem, a line that shows how true the narrator is sticking to real life dialogue.
- He yells, "I will," which is followed by a dash. We can imagine the woman running out the door at this point, escaping him as he's yelling after her. Or we can imagine any number of endings, since we don't actually see what goes down.
- We don't know what happens to this couple, but are left hanging in suspense and fear at the end of this poem. We have a feeling that whatever happens next is not going to be good.