FrostRobert Frost was an American Poet highly regarded for his realistic depiction and use of imagery involved in conceptualizing rural life. His work commonly used the monstrous theme of death and nature, using the setting of each piece to examine complex philosophical and social subject matters. The poems I chose to analyze are “The Vanishing Red”, “Home Burial”, and “Death of a Hired Man. ” Each poem exhibits the theme of “death” in their own way as a result of the differences in setting and through introduction of specific characters.
Despite the parallels in theme in these poems, Frost uses a variety of situations and concepts of death for the focus of each poem. The first poem I analyzed was “The Vanishing Red”. This poem describes the murder of the last Native American resident of a New England mill town named Acton (or action). The miller, in an act of pure racial hatred, shoved John (The red man) down into the mill’s wheel pit. John is then shredded to death in-between the gears of the machine he’s pushed into. My interpretation of this poem is that it really describes the death of a group a people that help build this nation.
We are forgetful that these “Red Men” help paved this country into the land it is today. The act of forgetting is apparent in lines 9 through 13: “You can’t get back and see it as he saw it. / It’s too long a story to go into now. / You’d have to have been there and lived it. / Then you wouldn’t have looked on it as just a matter / Of who began it between the two races. ” In other words, the killing of the last Native American in Action stands for the entire history or the entire act of colonization of the United States. Another portrayal of the theme Death is seen through the imagery used by Frost in “The Vanishing Red. The best example of this is the frantic fish or the salmon sturgeon. This metaphor can be seen as a two-fold force. The first we see as a fish flopping in the water; more as a dying force just as we exemplified in the Native Americans. Also we can see them as attempting to continue their species by flinging themselves into the maw of death. Another use of imagery is present through the character of the miller. The Miller represents the American Government in terms of control. He gives no reason for his cruel, unjustified murder and makes compunction about what he does.
The fact he is the miller, in control of the place of the murder, joins with the amount of direction he holds over other by refusing to license them to laugh. These powers are equivalent to the amount of control the government holds over its people. This control is displayed in lines 6 and 7, “The fact he is the miller, in control of the place of the act, combines with the amount of control he holds over other by refusing to license them to laugh. These powers are tantamount to the amount of control the government holds over its people. The choice of the Mill as the location of the murder directs the reader into the heart of the Frost’s consideration of what was going on at the time that the people allowed such horrific things to take place. The Mill, with its general racket and large turning wheels, grinding away not only the grains but also now bone and blood, stands as a memorial to the revolution of industry. Frost uses language ripe with symbolic meaning to address the murder of a people and the silence of a nation that observed it as it happened. The next poem I chose to analyze is “Home Burial”.
This poem is a complicated and rich allegory of human feelings and communications both are inadequately expressed and eventually failed. The poem is rich with depictions of grief, roasting anger, and great frustrations as the couple seek to come to grips with the passing of a child and their own differing and dysfunctional coping methods. The poem starts with the wife at the top of the stairs and the husband attempting to communicate with her. We later find out that under the circumstances this is expected futility, because this is an unresolved argument from its most recent stalemate.
The man tries to approach her and she cowers away, but in spite of his aggression she bares it and tolerates her inquisitive stare. “Sure that he wouldn’t see,/Blind creature. ” She is both scared and scornful at the same time while her husband is continually wondering what she is staring at out of the window at the top of the stairs. At the root of this sad drama is their child’s death. The woman stands at the top of the steps and stares through a window to the burial ground of the child.
When the husband realizes what she is looking at and draws awareness to the child’s grave, the wife departs and moves down the stairs. She moves both physically and emotionally away. Judging from the husband’s antagonism and irritation, we get the impression that she repeatedly does this. This is where the theme of death is introduced. As the husband turns his attention to the graveyard he notices that is “Not so much larger than a bedroom. ” Which leads us to the portrayal of the lifelessness in the gravesite and we also get the impression that the death of the child was also the death of the couple’s sexual relations.
As the poem continues, the couple begins to fight and we eventually see the wife’s sensitivity; while we see the husband’s insensitivity. She supports her accusations of his insensitivity by continually repeating what was said by the husband after he buried the child: “Three foggy mornings and one rainy day/Will rot the best birch fence a man can build. ” (Line 92-93) These arguments led one to believe to feel that this was the most powerful illustration of the enormous gap in their communication and understanding.
The whole backbone of their relationship and this poem is the troubles of dealing with the loneliness of death and the inability to grasp the true nature of having to deal with the death of a loved one. The communication between the man and wife is both revealing and pointless. In fact, the communication is not really communication. It is a dialog illustrating their positions of both misunderstanding and disagreement. I find this poem to be very interesting yet very depressing. It can have so many views interpreted.
A man and a woman dealing with the death of a close one brought about a lack of communication and understanding which terribly hurt their relationship. Everyone is entitled to express their emotions they want, but the wife does not like the fact that the husband won’t express himself. The husband has accepted the tragic death but the wife is not able to take up her life again, leaving them both completely alienated from one another. Death is the hardest reality of one’s life that is why they found it so hard to understand each other at the death of their first born.