Literary Essay of Robert Frosts Out, Out

Last Updated: 28 Aug 2020
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Literary Essay of “Out, Out –“ A Poem by Robert Frost Katrina Good South University Online Literary Essay of “Out, Out –“a Poem by Robert Frost The poem, “Out, Out –“ by Robert Frost (1916) uses many narrative elements, a few of them being the setting and characters along with climax and resolution to tell this sad story. Frost references William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”  as the title of this poem as a way to portray to the reader that there is a feeling of sadness or even death approaching in the words to follow. This analysis will convey how the narrative elements express the poem's main theme of a young boy’s life being extinguished while doing the work of a man. As one reads “Five mountain ranges one behind the other Under the sunset far into Vermont”, the sense of being out in the wilderness becomes placed within one’s mind. The reader can visualize how far from civilization the characters seem to be. Knowing how far the characters would have to travel in case of an emergency seems to become planted in the back of the reader's mind. Equally as important are the characters of Frosts’ poem. The first character playing a main “role” is the buzz saw. Frost uses words to describe the saw-like “snarled”, “rattled” and “leaped” to give life to the inanimate object, thus making it one of the main characters of the poem. Identically important would be the role of the boy. By writing, “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”, Frost shows the age or at least the mindset of the boy. He [the boy] would like to be off work half an hour early to enjoy being his self, a boy. Instead, he is denied his early release from his work and continues sawing, eventually falling victim to the buzz saw.

Additionally, there is the character of the boys’ sister. Frost seems to imply that the sister, telling the workers that it was time for supper, seemed to cause the boy to lose control of his buzz saw; hence causing the accident. Despite the implied cause, Frost then has the boy begging his sister, “Don’t let him cut my handoff. The doctor when he comes. Don’t let him, sister! ”. The boy seemingly not knowing, probably due to shock, that his hand has already been severed. With this in mind, the climax and resolution are stated quite clearly. Frost portrays the climax as “He must have given the hand. However it was, Neither refused the meeting. But the hand! ”, meaning that the boy had severed his hand. In turn, this leads to, “And then the watcher at his pulse took fright. No one believed. They listened to his heart. Little less nothing and that ended it”. Frost stated the resolution as equally clear as the climax; the boy had succumbed to his wounds. In summary, Frost uses the narrative elements to tell the sad story of the untimely death of a young boy from doing the work of a grown man. His writing is so clear and vivid that the reader is drawn into the vast countryside in Vermont to witness such a sad tale of loss. The reader can almost see the events as they are unfolding.


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  1. Frost, R, “Out, Out “ (1916), Nadell, Judith, Langan, John, Comodromos, and Eliza A.
  2. Longman Writer, The: Rhetoric, Reader, Research Guide, and Handbook for Education Management Corporation [8] (VitalSource Bookshelf),

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