Life Goes On
Robert Frost shows how people can really feel about death in the poem “Out, Out-“. People seem to be so busy with their life that they look as if death is something that is part of their everyday life. The reactions of people make it seem that mourning about the death of a person is just not in their schedule. The main character in the poem, a unnamed young boy, has his hand accidently cut off by a buzz-saw and dies. People look at his death as another normal event and keep on going with the routine. These people have the mentality that life goes on and not to think about death.
In the poem, Frost structures the poem in multiple ways. The rising action can be seen when the boy accidently cuts off his hand. The climax of the poem can be seen in different ways. The boy going into shock and the boy's death are probably seen as the most common climaxes in the poem. The climaxes can also be seen as the falling action because of how the resolution of the poem instantly comes after the boy's sudden death. Frost writes the climaxes and falling action in the poem in a vague way:
“Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh.
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—“ (18-22)
The resolution of the poem is that the people do not see the boy's death as something that should not intervene with their lives.
The poem uses the diction of everyday language, but Frost talks about the boy's death in a vague way. The is also no rhyme scheme, which can make the poem seem like very short story with a quick intro to the theme. The theme of the poem is that people see death as something that happens to them all the time. The title of the poem may have a reference to theme as it comes from William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Shakespeare shows the words “out, out” come from a point in the play when Macbeth learns about the death Lady Macbeth, his wife:
“Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” (Macbeth 5.5.23-28).
When the unnamed boy accidently cuts his hand off, he goes into shock. The shock was so much for him that he dies soon after:
“He saw all spoiled. 'Don't let him cut my hand off
The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!'
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then -- the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little -- less -- nothing! -- and that ended it.” (25-31).
His death could symbolize devastation, but due to the fact that the people in the poem do not see it as anything significant, his death could symbolize normal obstacle that is easily overcome...
Frost recognizes the way people fell about death because he actually witnessed an event similar to the one in the poem. In reality, it goes to show that not all people think the same when it comes to death. Some people may have trouble handling death. Others do not care about death and just keep life going because they do not want it to interfere with their busy schedule and affect them in any way. With that being said, Frost shows the true side of people in “Out, Out-“ after the sudden death of the boy who's hand was accidently severed off. It comes to show that, these people have the mentality that life goes on and not to think about death.
Frost, Robert. “Out, Out-.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 6th Compact ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 416-417.
Bruels, Marcia F. "Frost's `Out, Out--'." Explicator 55.2 (1997): 85. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 1 Feb. 2010.