Robert Frost: Poems

The World of the Child in a Rural Setting in the Poem 'Out, Out'

Throughout ‘Out, Out’, Frost utilises a multitude of techniques in order to express the thoughts, feelings and poignancy of a young child and the rural idyll he inhabits. The exploration of this important theme, and the injection of subtle vocabulary, allegory and syntax it entails, is of paramount importance to Frost and he treats it with according lustre. Throughout the poem Frost conjures a bleak and wholly malicious image of innocence being overwhelmed by the adult, and industrial, world: a theme prevalent throughout a large proportion of his poems.

From the start of the poem, Frost immediately creates a sense that the rural idyll is being entreated upon by an evil being: industry. For example: “And the buzz saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled.” The repetition contained within this excerpt, obviously, is a suitable method of conveying the relentlessness of the buzz saw, but it is its positioning that strikes the reader: it is located after a brief passage of Frost eloquently describing the surrounding scenery: “Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it…under the sunset far into Vermont.” This quotation helps to juxtapose rural life with industrial and is also, obviously, allegorical for the boy’s life being...

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