Poem Home Burial by Robert Frost: Literary Devices Used in the Poem and Its Meaning
Robert Frost, a popular America poet, entered on March 26th, 1874 in San Francisco, California then later emerged into an award winning poet. One biography said, Frost lived with his two parents, William and Isabelle. His father, a journalist who had a severe drinking problem that led him to his death at age thirty four from tuberculosis. Frost family moved to Massachusetts, he finished school at Lawrence High School. He became one of two valedictorians and the class poet of 1892. His co valedictorian was Elinor White, who later became his wife. Early into the beginning years of their marriage they had six children, 4 of whom later pass away at a young age. Frost worked as a reporter and teacher, he attempted to publish some of his poetry in the meantime. His family moved to England as result to Frost being fed up with American poetry establishment. In April of 1913, Frost published his first book of poetry, A Boy’s Will, gaining him praise and attention as a poet.
He soon after published his second book of poetry, North of Boston, contain poems such as Home Burial, The Road not Taken, and After Apple Picking. Frost experienced an abundance of grief, losing his children and later his mother and wife. Frost soon moved back to the United States, where he eventually receives four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry. Frost soon found his voice through free verse poetry and breaking the standards of poetry during this modernist era. He turned to common speech with the use of heavy figurative language. Known for his allusions to his real life in his work, he takes his grief, struggles, and experiences turning them into beautiful poetry. Frost grew through his lifetime, adapting and learning through his struggles creating the great poet known to this today.
In his poem Home Burial Frost uses ambiguity, apostroph, and repetition. His use of literary devices further enhanced the poem. Throughout the poem, Frost uses ambiguity several times right at the start. In Home Burial the poet writes, “What is it you see / From up there always? / What is it you see? / I will find out you now- you must tell me, dear” (Cite). The use of ambiguity leaves reads on end wanting to know the answer, readers don’t know she is looking at she is looking at their childs grave creating a sense of suspension. This enhances the poem by keeping readers engaged and want to find out more. In the poem, Frost uses apostrophe to create an emotional tone. In the poem the wife states, “You could sit there with the stains on your shoes / Of the fresh earth from your own baby’s grave / And talk about your everyday concerns. You had stood the spade up against the wall / Outside there in the entry, for I saw it.” (Cite). While the wife vented her grief to her husband whose not there physically or emotionally, it added a tone of sadness, show how differently they show their grief. The use of apostrophe gives the poem more of a voice to draw more emotion out of it. Through the entirety of the poem Frost uses repetition, which makes Home Burial feel more intense. In the poem the husband repeatedly shouts, “Can’t a man speak of his own child he’s lost?” (Cite). The statement by itself is powerful enough, but after it is repeated again and again it gives the story more immense feelings and extreme tension.
The use of repetition in the poem creates all of those emotions that make it feel as if the reader is standing in the room with the two characters. The collection of literary devices help piece together the poem, create more emotion, and keep readers engaged.
Robert Frost career as a poet received a great deal of critical reviews, however the positive criticism seemed to outweigh the negative. Majority of critics commented on how Frost seems to break from the standards poets were to uphold to during this time, the intense emotion his poems had, and how that impacted his poetry. One critic Lawrence Thompson enjoyed Frost’s style of poetry and how much emotion and symbolism was contained within them. The critic wrote, “The core of his poetic theory, as of his poetic practice, is to be found in his use of sensuous response of loving and cherishing, first as important poetic images of human actions: then, simultaneously, as even more important symbols of divine worship” (cite). The critic was right about how Frost’s messages within his poetry were the most important element to creating some of the best poetry to exist. In Home Burial he created an allusion to the loss of his own children in his life and showed the effect that grief have on a marriage. His ability to take basic poetry and intensify it was his greatest quality.
Another Critic Hayden Carruth believes that Frost style of writing only worked for his first two books but was too arrogant to see it wasn’t working anymore and his poems were no longer poems. Carruth wrote, “Frost saw that this was happening, and presumably he wanted to make it keep happening, but he ended by coercing his poems in formulaic and predictable ways. He ended not with poems but with editorials” (Cite). It is not that Frost style wasn’t working and was predictable, it is just that this critic just wasn’t a fan of Frost poetry. The way he wrote his poems gained him an abundance of praise and respect as a poet. I personally am a fan of Frost’s work and especially his poem Home Burial. Frost writes in dark and depressing tones, has unique ways of sharing emotion throughout the poem. Frost gained my respect by how real and raw his poem sounded. His use of figurative language improved the quality of the story and made it enjoyable to read. The storyline of Home Burial is an emotionally piece that I greatly enjoyed. Robert Frost’s poetry will forever be around and received positive reviews.
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