The Poems of Robert Frost | Study Guide

Robert Frost

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The Poems of Robert Frost | Character Analysis



Silas's character comes through the dialogue between Mary and her husband, Warren, whose home Silas has chosen to return to in his final sickness. From them, we learn that Silas is a simple man who has earned his livelihood as a hired man. He has never been reliable, leaving his work just when he is most needed. He is good at one thing, bundling hay.


Mary, talking on the porch with Warren, is depicted as an angel of mercy, bathed in moonlight, her hand held out among "the harp-like morning-glory strings." Her tenderness is evident when she helps Warren understand what home means: "Something you somehow haven't to deserve." Her conviction stirs Warren's sympathies.


After listing his complaints to Mary, he is swayed by her kindness toward Silas and her understanding. Her gentleness enables him to redefine home through new understanding: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, / They have to take you in." He has learned something and prepares to visit with Silas. He is, however, too late.

Mourning husband

In "Home Burial," the bereaved father warily watches his wife and tries to engage her in conversation about her sorrow. Wishing he were more feminine and thus more likely to be heard by her, he finally gives up in disappointment and anger.

Mourning wife

In "Home Burial," a young mother has lost her only child and is overcome by anger and grief. Immersed in the terrible loneliness of her grief, she cannot, and perhaps does not want to, be reached by her husband. She is angry and wants to escape.

The woodchopper

In "Two Tramps in Mud Time," the woodchopper is enjoying his skill at his task of chopping wood. He is basking in the changing weather. His self-gratulatory mood is interrupted when he sees two tramps coming out of the woods, and he assumes they need work and would like to be paid for the job he is doing with such pleasure. He puts his guilt aside and chooses his own needs. He continues chopping his wood, rationalizing that he is achieving a life-objective, unifying his vocation and his avocation.

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