The Connection Between Sexuality and Death in Frost's "Home Burial" and Anderson's "Death in the Woods"

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Frost’s “Home Burial” is a poem, which focuses on intimate relationships between sexuality and death. The poet depicts two methods of grieving the death of a child through the two parents. On the other hand, Anderson’s “Death in the Woods” is narrated by a man who identifies an older woman, Grimes and talks about her life with her tough husband Jack Grimes. The two; poem and short story, contain one key moment in which sexuality and death appear to be bonded. This literature paper seeks to explore the moments of sexuality and death in the poem and story and identifying the moment that seems more positive. Although the two pieces are different, Frost’s “Home Burial” and Anderson’s “Death in the Woods” both depict moments where sexuality and death and joined.

            Frost’s “Home Burial” identifies the issue of a husband and a wife who after the death of their first born child are almost separating because of handling their grief in diverse ways based in individual’s capacities and characters. The moment of mourning the death of the first born son leads to the bond between sexuality and death in the poem because the married couple ends ups struggling to retain their relationship. The two loved each other, but the death of the child tried to make them disagree. The husband talks to cope with the loss while the wife remains silence as she tries to mourn.

The wife remains silent even to the husband something which affects their sexual relationship. The husband says; "What is it you see / from up there always? for I want to know"(L. 6-7). On the other hand, the husband talks a lot, as he tries to reconcile, but Amy, the wife continues taunting him. The husband says, "What is it you see / from up there always? for I want to know"(L. 6-7). The specific words were meant to make the wife utter some words rather than remaining silent.

Indeed, the death of their young child led to the death of the married couple’s marriage because of handling the death issue in a way that affected their sexuality. Indeed, the moment the wife refused to talk to the husband and created a barrier between them, this led to the death of their marriage.

Anderson’s “Death in the Woods” describes various events that occurred when the narrator was a child. Anderson tries to explain the death of an old woman who died because of sexual harassments. The narrator says, “She was a young thing then and scared to death, -----.” (1). The moment Jake’s business failed for being dishonest and started cutting firewood for some profit, Mrs. Grimes was involved in farm work and feeding of their animals. Consequently, Mrs. Grimes was no longer sexually intimate to the husband and by forty years, she appeared old. Therefore, after experiencing sexual abuse from the farmer who had hired her before getting married and after going through marital struggles because of the drunkards of the wife, Mrs. Grimes died from exhaustion. Her body was identified in the forest whereby she took arrest under a tree and never woke up.

While she was hired by the farmer, he used to use her sexually and she was required to feed even the animals around. Nonetheless, after getting married, the husband failed to feed her with sex, and by struggling with life, she eventually grew bent and wasted. She no longer appeared attractive to her husband who after identifying that she would not satisfy him sexually; he no longer cared about her. The narrator says; “Thank heaven, she did not have to feed her husband—in a certain way. That hadn’t lasted long after their marriage and after the babies came.” (1) Finally, when she died and her body was frozen in the snow, she looked young, pure and untouched. The narrator claims that he “saw everything” which made his body to be “trembled with some strange mystical feeling,” as he tries to feature the cold.

Indeed, the connection between sexuality and death is ironic in the story. The narrator ironically argues that since the young woman's body was naked when she was identified dead, the aspect of seeing her body lead to a reaction that was sexual. Therefore, the connection between death and sexuality in the story is clearly identified the moment the young woman died and dogs tore her clothes living her body naked and frozen.

Between the two pieces, the bond between death and sexuality in the poem is positive. The aspect of the couple mourning the death of their first son and their differences in the ways through which they mourned led to their separation and the death of their sexual relationship. This means that the death of the young son made the couple fail to agree on their intimate relationship. It is widely expected for people to have relationship problems after or when mourning for the death of their loved ones. Therefore, the sexual relationship between the wife and husband in the poem died in a positive way of trying to mourn the death of their firstborn son.

Work Cited

Anderson, Sherwood. “Death in the Woods and other Stories”, 1933.

Frost, Robert. “Home Burial”

November 24, 2023

Health Life Literature

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