Different Responses to the Tragedy
Frost had experienced the loss of his own children and could comprehend the misery associated with the same. Therefore, the response of the man could be autobiographical: “Can’t a man speak of his own child he’s lost?” People are taught only to experience the loss and not to verbalize it as it would be conceived as inhuman. Frost here voices his own standpoint on the same as he asserts that it would not depersonalize the person or fact in question.
The mother opines that a man must sometimes forgo the aspects of being a man when he is with a woman. For a man, by convention, to indulge in emotions has been stereotyped as ‘effeminacy.’ However, the man in the prescribed poem does move toward her in an action of not only to coming close to her emotionally, but also in terms with her dictates. He promises not to mention anything that would offend her. Further, he entreats with her that if he could not communicate in a manner deemed acceptable to her, at least he be taught to do so. He desperately implores with her for a chance.
The reasons for the woman to be drawn into an emotional cocoon are not limited to the present alone. She harbors in her mind the image of the man digging the grave of his child with his own hands. While he chose to express his love in a practical manner, she chose to live it psychologically and sensitively. The very act of digging the grave comes across as ruthless and callous to her, and is portrayed like the functioning of a machine.
“You can’t because you don’t know how to speak.
If you had any feelings, you that dug
With your own hand—how could you?—his little grave;
I saw you from that very window there,
Making the gravel leap in air,
Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly
And roll back down the mound beside the hole.
I thought, Who is that man? I didn’t 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”