All poets have a certain licence when they are writing and that license includes the ability to change, slightly exaggerate or indeed understate facts. But all the great writers adhere reasonably closely to facts and real life. In the poem I have chosen “Out, Out” by Robert Frost, I believe he has done this successfully and has created a very effective and realistic poem. This particular poem of Robert Frosts is quite deceptive at first, and we believe it to be another of Frosts pastoral poems about the beautiful countryside.
We are mislead, and then later realise it to be a more realistic poem of a horrific accident, to a young boy while he is cutting wood with a saw at home, on the family farm. The poem opens by giving us a description of what was happening, it starts immediately by giving us a vivid image of the saw and the sound it made. In the opening of the poem it seems like a very normal and routine task being carried out, and it is through this opening of the poem, we the readers are fooled.
In the first line “The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard” the poet’s uses very effective verbs to create the impression the saw is really aggressive and almost alive. Then in line three it says “Sweet scented stuff when the breeze drew across it” and I think this reassures us this is another of Frosts partially well known nature poems. In line four and five it describes the scenery around the place where the poem is set.
It says “Under the sunset, far into Vermont” and it is here Frost creates a real sense of time and place and in my opinion reinforces our opinion on the theme of the poem. In the following line Frost uses a very clever device of repetition and onomatopoeia. He repeats the first line saying “And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled” inorder to emphasise how aggressive and rough the saw really is. In my opinion Frost then creates a calm and peaceful atmosphere by line nine “And nothing happened, day was all but done”.
Then in line ten our feelings on the poem changes when the poets says, “Call it a day I wish they might have said. ” This seems to alert us, and we hear the regret in the poet’s tone and we sense that something is about to happen. It is here we initionally sense this is not a pastoral poem, but it is one of deeper meaning. In line eleven and twelve Frost uses and repeats the word “boy,” as he does throughout the whole poem. This is to make us think of the boy’s youth and this is emphasised by the repetition of “boy.
Then in the following two lines the poet here tries to portray the saw as if it has almost has an intelligence of its own, and it too knew what food was. As Frost uses the simile “as if to prove that saws knew what supper meant. ” It then goes on to say that the boy “must of given the hand” meaning for a second or two the young boy was absent minded and for a split second must of let go of the saw. Then the poet says well whatever way it happened neither the boy nor the saw “refused the meeting”
In the poem the boy’s response to the accident is not what I would of expected- “The boys first outcry was a rueful laugh” this was as if the shock of how quick it had all happened, refrained reality from hitting him and he did not understand how serious the accident was. Then the boy “swung round towards them, holding up his hand,” he does this as if to beg the people around him to help and to see, just like a young child if someone would take control, by telling him what to do. In the poem it also says he does this in order “to keep the life from spilling. This is a metaphor used by Frost and here he means quite literally the boy held up his hand, to keep the blood that symbolised the boy’s life, from draining from him. “Then the boy saw all” meaning he realised exactly the extent of what had happened and he now fully realised how serious it was. Then in the following two lines we see how the young boy was brought up and what was expected of him. “Since he was old enough to know, big boy doing a mans work, though a child at heart -. Here we see how the boy in the poem was still young at heart and although he was physically strong enough to carry out such a dangerous job, growing up in a farming society, he was expected to do this. Jobs on a farm were to determine his lively hood for the rest of his life, but then the boy “saw all spoiled,” he knew he would never be able to work like he was brought up to again. Here he begged his sister “Don’t let him cut my hand off- the doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him sister! ” The poet uses his own words here to create atmosphere and feeling in the poem.
As when the reader knows these were the actual words of the boy, it makes us feel sorry for him. Then it says “but the hand was gone already” by this the poet meant it was so badly cut it could not be saved. There was nothing that could be done. The doctor then put the boy “in the dark of ether” meaning put him to sleep with an anaesthetic, and there he lay breathing peacefully. “Until, the watcher at his bedside took fright,” “no one believed,” as the boys heart rate gradually began to fade away- “Little- less- nothing! The boy was dead. The last two lines of the poem convey in my opinion the message behind the whole poem. “No more to build on there. And they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs. The message: this is reality, this is what happens in real life, we all must move on. Just like in the poem were the boy’s family were fatalistic people, and they realised and accepted what must happen in life. They saw no matter how much we don’t want it to there is no point in drawing out the grief.