literary response paper

To Do List:

1. Read Robert Frost’s “Home Burial.”

2. Read the information on problem solving techniques and conflict resolution methods (included below in the assignment guidelines).

3. Write a literary response paper (see directions below) about the poem. 

Robert Frost (18741963) 

                          Home Burial (1915) 

HE saw her from the bottom of the stairs

Before she saw him. She was starting down,

Looking back over her shoulder at some fear.

She took a doubtful step and then undid it

To raise herself and look again. He spoke

        5

Advancing toward her: What is it you see

From up there alwaysfor I want to know.

She turned and sank upon her skirts at that,

And her face changed from terrified to dull.

He said to gain time: What is it you see,

        10

Mounting until she cowered under him.

I will find out nowyou must tell me, dear.

She, in her place, refused him any help

With the least stiffening of her neck and silence.

She let him look, sure that he wouldnt see,

        15

Blind creature; and a while he didnt see.

But at last he murmured, Oh, and again, Oh.

What is itwhat? she said.

Just that I see.

You dont, she challenged. Tell me what it is.

        20

The wonder is I didnt see at once.

I never noticed it from here before.

I must be wonted to itthats the reason.

The little graveyard where my people are!

So small the window frames the whole of it.

        25

Not so much larger than a bedroom, is it?

There are three stones of slate and one of marble,

Broad-shouldered little slabs there in the sunlight

On the sidehill. We havent to mind those.

But I understand: it is not the stones,

        30

But the childs mound

Dont, dont, dont, dont, she cried.

She withdrew shrinking from beneath his arm

That rested on the banister, and slid downstairs;

And turned on him with such a daunting look,

        35

He said twice over before he knew himself:

Cant a man speak of his own child hes lost?

Not you! Oh, wheres my hat? Oh, I dont need it!

I must get out of here. I must get air.

I dont know rightly whether any man can.

        40

Amy! Dont go to someone else this time.

Listen to me. I wont come down the stairs.

He sat and fixed his chin between his fists.

Theres something I should like to ask you, dear.

You dont know how to ask it.

        45

Help me, then.

Her fingers moved the latch for all reply.

My words are nearly always an offence.

I dont know how to speak of anything

So as to please you. But I might be taught

        50

I should suppose. I cant say I see how.

A man must partly give up being a man

With women-folk. We could have some arrangement

By which Id bind myself to keep hands off

Anything special youre a-mind to name.

        55

Though I dont like such things twixt those that love.

Two that dont love cant live together without them.

But two that do cant live together with them.

She moved the latch a little. Dontdont go.

Dont carry it to someone else this time.

        60

Tell me about it if its something human.

Let me into your grief. Im not so much

Unlike other folks as your standing there

Apart would make me out. Give me my chance.

I do think, though, you overdo it a little.

        65

What was it brought you up to think it the thing

To take your mother-loss of a first child

So inconsolablyin the face of love.

Youd think his memory might be satisfied

There you go sneering now!

        70

Im not, Im not!

You make me angry. Ill come down to you.

God, what a woman! And its come to this,

A man cant speak of his own child thats dead.

You cant because you dont know how.

        75

If you had any feelings, you that dug

With your own handhow could you?his little grave;

I saw you from that very window there,

Making the gravel leap and leap in air,

Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly

        80

And roll back down the mound beside the hole.

I thought, Who is that man? I didnt know you.

And I crept down the stairs and up the stairs

To look again, and still your spade kept lifting.

Then you came in. I heard your rumbling voice

        85

Out in the kitchen, and I dont know why,

But I went near to see with my own eyes.

You could sit there with the stains on your shoes

Of the fresh earth from your own babys grave

And talk about your everyday concerns.

        90

You had stood the spade up against the wall

Outside there in the entry, for I saw it.

I shall laugh the worst laugh I ever laughed.

Im cursed. God, if I dont believe Im cursed.

I can repeat the very words you were saying.

        95

Three foggy mornings and one rainy day

Will rot the best birch fence a man can build.

Think of it, talk like that at such a time!

What had how long it takes a birch to rot

To do with what was in the darkened parlour.

        100

You couldnt care! The nearest friends can go

With anyone to death, comes so far short

They might as well not try to go at all.

No, from the time when one is sick to death,

One is alone, and he dies more alone.

        105

Friends make pretence of following to the grave,

But before one is in it, their minds are turned

And making the best of their way back to life

And living people, and things they understand.

But the worlds evil. I wont have grief so

        110

If I can change it. Oh, I wont, I wont!

There, you have said it all and you feel better.

You wont go now. Youre crying. Close the door.

The hearts gone out of it: why keep it up.

Amy! Theres someone coming down the road!

        115

Youoh, you think the talk is all. I must go

Somewhere out of this house. How can I make you

Ifyoudo! She was opening the door wider.

Where do you mean to go? First tell me that.

Ill follow and bring you back by force. I will!

        120

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