From what literary period is "Home Burial" by Robert Frost?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Robert Frost's 1914 poem "Home Burial" is from the literary period known as Modernism. The movement was a reaction against Victorian poetry, which tended to include elaborate, formal diction and focus on themes including reverence for the past and the divide between science and nature.

The style of Modernist poems vary, and they are often experimental in form. They can be, for example, stream-of-consciousness, free verse, or as in the case of "Home Burial," a dramatic lyric. The meaning of Frost's poem is revealed through a dialogue between a distraught wife and her stoic husband regarding the death of their child. Frost sought to realistically capture a fraught conversation as the couple comes to terms with their grief and the way each expresses it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"Home Burial" represents Robert Frost writing in the avant-garde style of poetry that arose, beginning early in the twentieth century.

Avant-garde can be defined as meaning "the invention and application of new techniques in a given field" and frequently is used particularly to describe new innovations in artistic areas. In the field of poetry, avant-garde poets were involved in experimenting with using new formats for their poetry, no longer restricting their writings to predictable rhythmic and rhyming patterns.

Frost abandons rhyme and uses blank verse in "Home Burial," which was published in 1914. While the meter is not obvious, the pattern of iambic stress is present.

He saw her from the bot-tom of the stairs
Be-fore she saw him. She was start-ing down,
Look-ing back o-ver her shoul-der at some fear.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial