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Out, out by Robert Frost

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Grant Schultz

on 5 November 2013

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Transcript of Out, out by Robert Frost

'Out, Out'

'Out, Out'
by Robert Frost

by Grant Schultz
The shift in the poem occurs when the saw "leaped out of the boy's hand" and cuts him. That moment of shock signifies the dark and graphic change in the poem. The boy's plea for help when he realizes that he may lose his hand becomes more tragic when he loses something greater - his life. There is also a change in the poem's punctuation that helps indicate this shift. Frost uses a hyphen after the saw "leaps" out of the boy's hand, the sentences get shorter, and exclamation points are used.

A young boy is cutting wood with a buzz saw when he hears his sister call him to come and eat supper. He is excited, becomes distracted, and accidentally cuts his hand. When he realizes what has happened he asks his sister to please stop the doctor from amputating his arm. When the doctor finally arrives his hand was already lost. The doctor then puts the boy under and he dies. Surprisingly, everyone moves on with their lives by returning to their chores.
The theme of this poem is about the loss of innocence and how fragile life is.
What does the title mean?
(before reading)
* Onomatopoeia: The poem uses the words "snarled and rattled" to create the image of an unfriendly wild animal.
* Personification: The poems says the saw, "Leaped out of the boy's hand" as if the saw had human qualities.

I thought this poem was about someone forced to leave their home.
Title's meaning after reading the poem.
This title is about the death of a young boy and how nonchalantly the people around him react to his death. They quickly forget about him and return to work.
Robert Frost shows that life is short and after you die people move on when he writes, "And they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs."
'Out, Out'
by Robert Frost
Audio Presentation
The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breese drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eye could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them 'Supper.' At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws know what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap -
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all -
Since he was old enough, though a child at heart -
He saw all was spoiled. 'Don't let him cut my hand off -
The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!"
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then - the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened to his heart.
Little - less - nothing! and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

The word ether is used in the poem when the doctor puts the boy, "in the dark of the ether" so when the boy is given ether for his pain and dies he remains in the dark.
Nature is used to help the reader with the setting of the poem. In the beginning the wood is referred to as "sweet smelling" and the "Five mountain ranges one behind the other under the sunset far into Vermont" paints a pretty and peaceful picture.
There are several tones used in the poem such as:


- "Don't let them cut my hand off the doctor, when he comes."
- "So. But the hand was gone already."
- "Since he was old enough to know, big boy doing a man's work, though a child at heart." One cannot help but feel sympathy for the boy since he grew up so fast doing a man's job only to die so young and miss his childhood.

"Robert Frost." Poets.org. Academy of
American Poets, n.d. Web. 03 Nov.

"Skoool.ie :: Exam Centre." Skoool.ie ::
Exam Centre. N.p., n.d. Web 03 Nov.

Robert Frost
Robert Frost was born in San Francisco and lived most of his life in the New England region on a farm.
He went to Dartmouth College and Harvard but never got a formal degree.
When he was young he worked in mill, was a newspaper reporter, teacher, and a lecturer.
He later went on to become one of the all-time great poets winning many awards and 4 Pulitzer Prizes when he was alive.
He wrote most of his poems about country life and landscapes.
He was a poet of traditional verse forms and metrics who remained untouched by the poetic movements or fashions of his time.
Frost took the title of his poem, 'Out, Out' from a famous quote in Shakespeare's play Macbeth. It is supposed to compare life to a burning candle than can be blown out at any time, "Out, out, brief candle."
'Out, out' was written in 1915 during World War I and is based on a true event of a boy who died in a farmyard accident. It highlights the tragedy that occurs when a boy is made to do a man's work.
Full transcript