Study Guide

Home Burial Sadness

By Robert Frost

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"Tell me about it if it's something human.
Let me into your grief. […]" (61-62)

The man in this poem (the speaker of these lines) feels so disconnected from his wife's grief that he doubts it's even human. As if a human emotion could be inhuman. In these lines, it really seems like he's trying to understand her feelings, but we're not holding out much hope for that actually happening. Her sadness seems totally beyond his comprehension.

"What was it brought you up to think it the thing
To take your mother-loss of a first child
So inconsolably—in the face of love." (66-68)

The husband assumes that his wife's been brought up to see inconsolable grief after the loss of a child to be trendy, "the thing to do." Does that seem like a fair assessment to you?

"You'd think his memory might be satisfied — —" (69)

Yikes. This is not a good moment for our guy. This line assumes that a memory and grief in general are things that can be satisfied with a finite amount of mourning, which hardly seems brimming with compassion and empathy. If you've ever been truly sad, you'll know that, yes, time does heal, but there is no amount of mourning that can completely satisfy a deep grief. So maybe this guy better can it before he sticks his foot even farther into his mouth.

"Making the gravel leap and leap in air,
Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly" (79-80)

So in the wife's eyes, her husband's grief is, well, nonexistent. She's basing this on how she sees him behave outwardly, but to give the guy some credit, it's possible he's just hiding his true feelings.

"No, from the time when one is sick to death,
One is alone, and he dies more alone." (104-105)

Well, Shmoopers, it doesn't get more depressing than that. Pardon us while we pound a pint of Chunky Monkey.

"But the world's evil. I won't have grief so
If I can change it. Oh, I won't, I won't!" (110-111)

Even though the woman is down in the dumps, she thinks of the world as a place that she can change. But this raises the question: How would she have grief? What does her ideal grief look like?

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