"Out, Out, notnotnotnot -- ' Robert Frost tells a disturbing story in "Out, Out, -- ", in which a little boy loses his life. The title of the poem leaves the reader to substitute the last word of the title, which some would assume would be out because of the repetition. The title is referring to the boy exiting the living world. Frost drags the reader's mind into the poem with the imagistic description of the tools and atmosphere the little boy is surrounded by. Frost describes the little boy's work in the first two lines by saying the "stove-length sticks of wood," inferring the practical nature of his work. The mountains described in the next lines further add to the captive nature of the poem.
Vermont provides a magnificent view of the mountain ranges. Frost describes the sounds of the saw by the literary device onomatopoeia, "snarling and rattling" throughout the poem. The saw ran perfectly the whole time, never showing strain while cutting wood or while it was just idling. "And nothing happened: day was all but done," expresses the anxiety the little boy experiences while longing for something other than work to do. Thirty minutes before the end of his work day, the boy was tired and ready to quit working.
He had been working all day and wished they would allow just thirty minutes extra for him to experience his childhood. The boy would "count so much when saved from work," because he is not allowed the normal playful childhood. The little boy would treasure time off from work because he spends most of his time being a working class adult and not getting any chances to be a normal boy. The sister prepares the evening meal, making her contribution to the family; and calls on the boy to come and eat.
The saw in the boy's hands was still running and when he took his attention away from his work, and that split second of carelessness cost him an extremity. His instincts raised his arm upward to keep all the blood from spilling out immediately. When he realized what was happening, the boy finally realized he was to young to be doing a man's work. The boy "saw all spoiled," and now knew his whole childhood had vanished and it was impossible to get it back. The boy frantically called out to his sister to make the doctor keep his hand on. The boy's body must have instantly gone into shock and not felt the absence of the hand.
When the doctor arrived he gave him some ether to make him go to sleep. The little boy began to lose his pulse and soon he was a stranger to the world. The people surrounding the boy never expected the loss of his hand to tragically end the little boy's life. Frost's almost appalling casual description of death shocks the reader enough to make them think.
"Since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs," describes the environment of the survivors. They are forced to move on with their life and keep working because they cannot afford to stop and mourn. The poem "Out, Out, -- " can only be described as an ironic misfortune that could be experienced by anyone. The realistic subject of the poem makes readers sympathize with the boy. The poem does not show the kind of respect people usually show toward their deceased. This example of horrifying realism will make any age reader shudder when they think of the possibilities.
The diction is easy for anyone to read and catch on to the gallows humor used by Frost.