Out, Out By Robert Frost Essay

1249 words - 5 pages

Out, Out

"Out, Out," by Robert Frost is a gruesomely graphic and emotional poem about the tragic end of a young boy's life. It is a powerful expression about the fragility of life and the fact that death can come at any time. Death is always devastating, but it is even more so when the victim is just a young boy. The fact that the boy's death came right before he could " Call it a day" (750) leads one to think the tragedy might have been avoided and there by forces the reader to think, "What if." This poem brings the question of mortality to the reader's attention and shows that death has no age limit.

It was powerful poems such as "Out, Out" that gave Robert Frost the reputation as one of America's leading 20th century poets. The four-time Pulitzer Prize winner was born in San Francisco on March 26, 1874 and died in Boston on January 29, 1963. "He was a pioneer in the interplay of rhythm and meter and in the poetic use of the vocabulary and inflections of everyday speech" (Robert Frost). His father died in 1885 when Robert was only eleven; this caused the family to uproot from California to move to Massachusetts. This is where he would go to high school and eventually become a high school teacher. In 1895 he married Elinor White, the girl he shared Valedictorian honors with at Lawrence High School in Massachusetts. At age 38 he sold the farm he was living on to move his family to England where he could devote himself to his writing. His goal was to establish himself as a writer; his work was an immediate success. Frost initially produced A Boy's Will and followed that up with North of Boston. Favorable reviews of these books of poetry resulted in the American publications of the books by Henry Holt and Company. In 1915, Robert Frost saw the publication of the North of Boston in the United States. This was his first collection to be published in America and sales of that book went very well. This was the start of Frost's reputation as one of the great American writers of the 20th century.

"Out, Out" is a great example of a typical Robert Frost poem. This narrative poem tells a story of human tragedy through the death of a young boy. The poem shows how fragile life can be and how it can be taken from people in an instant. The boy's tragic death is illuminated for the reader by a commentator watching the incident from the outside looking in. There is a lot of detail given to the reader early on describing the saw and the way it "snarled and rattled." These details and the emphases on the boy's age and his wanting to leave work early made the situation destined for tragedy. It was as if Frost was preparing us for the tragedy to come, "And nothing happened: day was all but done"(9). This suggests that something is definitely going to happen. Another clue that something awful is about to happen is the way the saw is personified it: " leaped out of the boy's hand" (16). As it is described, the saw jumped out of the boy's hand when he is...

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