Out Out, Robert Frost



'buzz saw snarled and rattled' - Onomatopoeic. Poem opens with the saw as the dominant sound in the scene. The saw is personified in the poem and so appears as a menacing character. Foreboding.

'snarled and rattled'- Repetition suggests a nosie that goes on for a long time. Also adds to the personification of the saw. This is a ugly sound described by ugly words, breaking into the beauty described just before. Interfering, dominating and aggressive.

'sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it'- The sibilance in this line and the pleasant images of sweet-scenes and breeze precede the incident to come by contrasting the beauty of the backdrop.

'"Don't let him"' - Direct speech makes it more personal. Pleading.

'Half in appeal, but half as to keep The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all'- life is a metaphor for blood. 'boy saw all' suggests he realises what has happened, it took a few moments to sink in.

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'boy counts so much' - The writer expresses his wish that the boy had not worked the extra half-hour. That he 'counts so much' suggests that he is quite young. The writer not wanting him to work more gives a sense of foreboding.

'Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap'- Long sentence here describes the moment of the accident. THe saw is personified as if it is trying to prove it understands something. The words 'leaped...or seemed to leap'- suggest confusion over what exactly had happened.

'So'- The abrupt use of the word 'so' conveys the sudden change in circumstances and the confirmation of the loss of the hand.

'Little-less-nothing'- Shocked family members watch as his pulse fades away. Use of dashes suggests the final heart beats.

'turned to their affairs'- hardship, no time to grieve, move on and work.

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  •  The poem is written in iambic pentameter.

This structure is broken in line 27 by the single word, 'so'. The line contains only 4 stressed syllbles. Broken, disjointed line represents the tragedy, broken beyond repair.

  • The whole incident is written in one stanza, suggesting how death can come in the space of one stanza. 
  • Furthermore short sentences such as 'He saw all spoiled' represent the brevity of life and the sudden impact of the accident.
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