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Themes

As this couple battles through this painful conversation about the "Home Burial," the power in the relationship shifts between the two. Sometimes, one person has all the power, and sometimes, it's the other. But most of the time it's somewhere in the middle, which makes things especially interesting. While they fight about their dead child, they also fight for control over the conversation, and control in their relationship.

Questions About Power

  1. Who do you think has the most power at the end of the poem? Why?
  2. When in this poem does the man have the most power, and when does the woman have the most power? How can you tell?
  3. How do you think the power in this relationship would be different if this poem took place today?
  4. How is the struggle for power in this poem demonstrated physically?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The couple's position on the staircase symbolizes the power in their relationship.

The power in this poem is constantly shifting between the characters—at no point in the poem does one person have all of the power.

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