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Robert Frost Home Burial – Selfish Misery

The Selfish Misery of Home Burial

Robert Frost’s poem “Home Burial” is an intriguing portrait of a marital relationship that has gone wrong. Though at first glance it may seem that the cause for the couple’s trouble is the death of their child, closer reading allows the reader to see that there are other serious, deeper-rooted problems at work. The couples differences in their approach to grieving is only the beginning of their problems.

Many of the real problems lie in the wife’s self-absorbed attitude of consuming unhappiness and anger. Her outlook on her life and marriage is so narrow that she winds up making both her husband and herself victims of her issues. It is clear that Frost intended the reader to see through the dialogue of “Home Burial” how the selfish misery of one can wreak havoc on others, and how it may be impossible for such a situation to be overcome.

Modern readers might prefer to look at “Home Burial” from a feminist angle, insisting that the husband is at fault, and the wife is the victim of his lack of appropriate concern and communication. This is not the case, as the husband’s concern for his wife is clearly shown throughout the poem. From the very beginning of the scene Frost illustrates this by the husband’s attitude and approach. In the very first line the husband watches his wife as she looks out the window (line 1). Since immediately after she turns around he asks what she is so interested in, it is clear that he was thinking about what could be troubling her as he saw her on the stairs. Twice he refers to her as “dear” (12 and 44). It is not often the case that people who are wholly unsympathetic to another call that person by an endearment and contemplate their distress.

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…ind, stubborn anger the wife displays. A parent/child relationship could easily have the same problems with poor communication and misunderstanding. “Home Burial” can be seen as a commentary on selfish misery that destroys more than just the unhappy person. If only the wife would be willing to step back and listen to her husband, they might be able to salvage their marriage and have a happy life. However, the ending of the poem does not leave much hope for such reconciliation. It can be hoped that anyone reading “Home Burial” would be willing to do more than the wife was to save any relationships they may be struggling in, but the way Frost ends the poem implies he may see that hope as unrealistic.


Frost, Robert. “Home Burial.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 792-794.

gatcolor Great Gatsby Essays: Importance of Color

Importance of Color in The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald

In literature, colors are often purposefully chosen for different characters to represent the character’s personalities. In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the colors green, yellow/gold, and gray are used to represent the attributes of the colored person or place.

Apparently, green is the most prominently used color in the novel. The reason for this may be that green is the color used to describe the main character of the novel, Jay Gatsby. One of the possible meanings of green in this story is envy. Gatsby can be seen as an envious man for a few reasons. For one, he is extremely envious of Tom Buchanan because of the fact that he has the one thing he can’t buy, Daisy. Also, Gatsby is extremely envious of the people that he invites to his house. He knows that he is not old money like the people he invites to his parties. This makes him a man of who, is “Green with envy.”

In like manner, green is also used to symbolize money. In the story, money controls the life of the people in the story. Gatsby feels that he needs green money to live and to impress Daisy. Symbols of Gatsby’s money included his large green lawn and the green ivy growing up his house. Also, in his car, it depicts the passengers sitting “in a sort of green leather conservatory.” All of these symbols depict Gatsby’s money.

In contrast to green, yellow and gold are used to be an example of old money, unlike green that is used to depict the new money of gold. Tom could be seen as a gold person for he has old money. As green and gold contrast, so do Gatsby and Tom. A quotation of new money gold is “… Jordan’s slender golden arm resting on mine…” Gatsby desperately buys “….. a yellow car,” in which he will attempt to be of old money, even though everyone knows that Gatsby is not of old money. Gold and green are as much a contrast of new and old, but they do have a distant connection just as a new and an old car have the same connection. They may look different, but deep down, the two can be seen as the same item. Fitzgerald describes the Valley of Ashes as

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