Critical Evaluation of a poem Out, Out by Robert Frost

Category: Poem
Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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A poem which I have read recently is "Out, Out" by Robert Frost. This poem is memorable as it affected me in several ways. It shocked me because the little boy cut off his hand and then died, but also because after the boy died people turned back to their work and didn't seem to care about the boy.

When I had read the poem for the first time the title did not seem important because I could not tell what the poem was about, from it. After I had studied the poem in more detail, I considered the poem to be particularly effective. The title "Out, Out" is a famous quotation from Macbeth which was written by Shakespeare. It intrigues the reader by keeping them in suspense which makes them read on. The poet intrigued me the first time I read the title as I thought it was a very peculiar title for this poem. This made me study the poem in more detail; it was the title of this poem which made me keep the poem vividly in my head. The title of this poem was effective because the poet was comparing our life to the life of candle flame and how it can be put out. He is trying to stress to us how short life is.

Robert Frost appeals to my sense of smell, sight and hearing by the writing:

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"Sweet scented stuff"

The techniques he used were alliteration and onomatopoeia. He uses alliteration by starting all the words in the quotation above with an "S" sound. Also onomatopoeia by using the quotation:

"The buzz saw snarled and rattled"

This line in the poem is showing us what the saw is doing. He also used repetition by using:

"the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled"

This quotation is effective because it is stressing to us how boring but repetitive this job was. I think Frost appeals to our senses because he is trying to make us imagine we were at the scene of this horrific incident. As he appeals to my senses I can imagine I was at the scene of the accident, which is what Robert Frost wanted to achieve. This leaves a deep impression on me because I was able to picture the scene of the incident clearly in my head.

Another technique Robert Frost used in this poem was personification. An example of it being in this poem is:

"As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,

Leapt out at the boy's hand"

This quotation is giving the personality of a living thing to the saw. In using this quotation Frost explains to us that it wasn't only the boy who was hungry but also the saw. Another phrase which contains the personification of the saw is:

"the saw snarled"

This shows us how aggressive the saw was while cutting the wood. It also told us that in general saws are angry and aggressive and the boy shouldn't of being using the saw. I think this as I think "snarled" is some form of movement a wild animal does. I think the poet uses personification to show us how aggressive the saw was. The poet's use of personification helps me to remember the poem vaguely.

One of the lessons I learnt from the poem was from the last two lines of the poem:

"And they, since they

were not the ones dead, turned to their other affairs"

I think that after reading that Robert Frost wrote this poem to criticise our society today as we are hard hearted. Also because people who might have known the boy didn't care they just turned to their other work. The other lesson I learnt from the poem was from the poem and how life is short and could end easily. I think these two points that Frost is making are valid points because today in our society today people only care about themselves and don't consider the fact about how short life is. This affected me in two ways, firstly I have started to think about others whose loved one has died and I have found out that life's too short.

The poem "Out, Out" by Robert Frost will remain vividly in my head because of all the effective techniques he used to get us to think about how hard hearted society is and also, how short life is. He was very successful in getting me to think about the two lessons I learnt. Although the best technique I thought was the way he managed to get me to think towards our society as hard hearted and how short life is. After reading the poem I was affected emotionally as I could relate the point which Frost brought up about us being hard hearted to the people who I have turned my back to in my life. Also I was emotionally upset as I had never given life a thought but after reading the poem I realise how precious life is to me.

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Critical Evaluation of a poem Out, Out by Robert Frost. (2017, Aug 20). Retrieved from

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