Circles Of Misunderstanding Essay Research Paper

Circles Of Misunderstanding Essay, Research Paper

"Home Burial" depicts a household of misery and miscommunication.

As a husband and wife attempt to deal with the loss of a child, they loose each

other. Men live life more singularly than women, and immerse themselves in work

and self-improvement. Women, on the other hand, tend to regard their family as

their life, and therefore live their life more collectively. This difference

causes most men and women to think in different ways, and therefore feel unable

to communicate or understand one another. Frost uses Amy and her husband’s

struggle to deal with the loss of their child to show the underlying yet

ultimate difference between men and women. "Home Burial" portrays a

family lost because of the failure to communicate, which underlyingly describes

Frost’s opinion that there is an ultimate difference between a male’s tendency

to live individually and a female’s tendency to live collectively.

Throughout the poem, Amy tries to have her husband understand her so that

they may understand and cope together, yet when he fails to she gives up, thus

being unable to deal with her loss herself. Amy continues to struggle with the

loss of her child because she refuses to deal with the problem individually, as

her husband has already done. She seems to want to be consoled by him and have

him understand her grief, yet won’t let herself because of his outward attitude.

She ultimately saw him as a "blind creature"(line 16) who was unable

to see the graveyard, or the truth. When he tries to understand by looking out

the window she exclaims, "Not you!?I don’t know rightly whether any man

can" (lines 36-38). In this sentence Amy recognizes the fact that according

to her, men cannot rightly deal with a loss. She believes his actions after the

death of their child to be uncaring and unemotional. She doesn’t believe that he

has dealt with their collective loss because he hasn’t discussed his individual

emotions. She feels like he in completely incapable of expressing himself,

"you can’t because you don’t know how to speak" (line 71). Because of

his unwillingness to express himself he did not have "any feelings"

(line 72). This logic is, however, tainted because of her actual inability to

understand his method of dealing with his feelings. It seems as though she

wanted to deal with the loss together in the beginning, yet was appalled by his

"rumbling voice" (line 81) speaking of "everyday concerns"

(line 86). These "everyday concerns" however, were another failure to

communicate and misunderstanding. She was unable to see that his speech was a

metaphor relating to the death of their child. "One is alone, and he dies

more alone" (line 101) is her philosophy, while her husband sees

individuality as a way of life. She believes that to be alone is abnormal and

unhealthy, while he chooses not to deal with things collectively, but rather by

himself. Utterly frustrated and hopeless, she gives up her struggle to get him

to understand and states, "You-oh, you think the talk is all. I must

go-Somewhere out of this house. How can I make you–" (lines 112-113). She

realizes finally that she can’t make him know her emotions, and that he thinks

that by her talking individually that the grieving is over, when all she really

wants is to have talked about it together, to have grieved together, to have

dealt with the loss together.

Amy’s husband, seeming to his wife aloof and uncaring, individually deals

with the loss of his child. Rather than talking about his grief he chooses to

bury the child, think, and move on. To Amy, this individual moving on is

completely foreign. Her husband wants to think and remember, but not dwell.

Because he had moved on, he failed to notice the visibility of the child’s

gravesite from their window. While Amy took this as a blatant disregard for

their child’s death, he had stopped dwelling on his child’s death. He refers to

the child by using possessive statements such as "my people" (line 23)

or "his own child" (line 35) rather than ‘their’, showing his

individual relationship with the child. He doesn’t understand why Amy is so

frustrated and closed with him and tries to get her to talk about her feelings

yet when she refuses, he becomes frustrated with her, "You make me angry?God,

what a woman" (lines 68-69)! He states, "don’t go to someone else this

time" (line 39) showing that he genuinely wants her to deal with it with

him, yet only discussing her feelings because his have already been dealt with.

She, however, does not want to share her feelings with him; she wants their

feelings to be discussed together. Their conversation runs in circles of

misunderstanding like this until she finally leaves.

Their failure to communicate leads to these circles of misunderstanding

because neither one will explicitly say how they feel. He wants Amy to deal with

her loss alone, yet share her own feelings, while she wants him to deal with his

loss with her. This is impossible, however, because she doesn’t understand how

he could have possibly dealt with their loss alone. Because of this, she refuses

to move on leaving them at a standstill. Amy leaves the house, leaving no hope

for reconciliation or understanding. Her husband stays there confused and alone

unable to see her desire to deal with the loss as a couple rather than as two

separate people.

Through this relationship, Frost describes a difference in men and women that

cannot be reconciled as long as neither recognizes the other’s point of view.

Frost shows typical male and female instincts and views of life. Women think

collectively and define themselves in terms of their family, while men tend to

think individually and define themselves in terms of their work or position.

"Home Burial" also describes this standstill that men and women face

when they fail to communicate. One cannot fully understand the other when

situations are not explicitly spoken about. Amy wants to tell her husband how he

should act, and how he should feel. This, however, can’t be effectively done

because she knows she cannot tell her husband how to be or how to feel. He also

wants to tell her how to deal with her own feelings and fails to recognize the

way that she actually wants to deal with these feelings. This conflict could be

dealt with through communication, which in their case is done through fragmented

thoughts and phrases that do not help one another understand their feelings. Amy

is disbelieving of his real desire to have her talk about their child’s death,

while he is disbelieving of her actually ability to deal with their loss at all.

This again goes back to their circles; they are unable to understand one another

and are unable to make an effort to get to understand each other. This is

because of their different ways of looking at the world. Frost shows them to be

indicative of all men and women. They are unable to fully communicate because of

their uncontrollable differences. They, like many others, cannot get out of

their misunderstanding because they cannot communicate. Frosts message through

them then is that communication can solve these innate differences in men and

women yet cannot always be effectively achieved.


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