Appeal of Robert Frost’s “Out Out”

There have been many interesting and appealing poems written throughout history. One of the most interesting and appealing poems is Robert Frost’s “Out, Out”. The poem has the ability to make the reader visualize an event in vivid detail without making it into a short story. The poem depicts a very dramatic scene and makes it seem as if the reader is really there. Poems are generally thought to be about love and feelings, but some poems can actually be like a short story; these are called narrative poems, which means that they tell a story.

The poem “Out, Out” is a great example of a narrative poem, telling the story of a young boy cutting a tree. Robert Frost captures one’s attention with the opening line “The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard” (Frost, line 1). The sound of a buzz-saw snarling and rattling as it cuts through wood is a sound that everybody knows and can imagine the sound in their head. The opening line is dramatic, as the reader knows the dangers of a chainsaw. The title “Out, Out” is actually a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth when Macbeth receives news that his wife is dead; “Out, out, brief candle!

” (Macbeth V, v, 23) signifies her death. The poem has a title about death, and the poem starts off by describing the sinister sounds that a buzz-saw makes. Frost uses a word that makes the buzz-saw seem angry or evil, as snarling means an angry growl. This buzz-saw is not nice sounding, it has an angry growl foreshadowing what will happen later in the poem. Frost appeals to the senses to allow the reader to be able to envision this scene of a buzz-saw snarling and rattling, “made dust” (2), “sweet scented stuff” (3), “five mountain ranges one behind the other under the sunset far into Vermont” (5-6).

The reader can now envision a wooded area in the mountains of Vermont where a boy is cutting wood and dust chips flying in the air with the sweet smell of freshly cut wood underneath a sunset. The foreshadowing continues with a sunset, which commonly symbolizes death or an ending. The buzz-saw continues its evil growl in line seven where it “Snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled”. The boy is getting more and more tired and the buzz-saw seems to not give in or wear down “as it ran light, or had to bear a load” (8) the buzz-saw is relentless and will keep going until the boy makes it stop running.

Frost continues on to the point in the poem until supper time, when the boy and the buzz-saw can finally take a break. Now is when the snarling buzz-saw proves its evil growl to mean something as it “leaped out of the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap” (15). Frost did not say that the boy dropped the saw or that the boy lost control of the saw, but that the saw itself leaped out of the boy’s hand of its own free will. The saw is not happy enough with its free will to leap out at the boy but it also cuts off his hand “neither refused the meeting.

But the hand! ” (18). The poem now gets to the peak of its drama. The saw cut the boy’s hand off and he is desperately trying to figure out what to do “holding up the hand half in appeal, but half as if to keep the life from spilling. ” (20-22). The boy is bleeding as one would expect from getting cut at a major artery at the wrist. The boy’s blood is spilling out and he is trying to keep his life from spilling out. Frost does not call it blood but he calls it the boy’s life to let you know that he is slowly dying as he bleeds more and more.

The boy does not seem to know what really happened, he is in a state of shock. The boy tells his sister “Don’t let him cut my hand off? The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister! So. But the hand was already gone” (25-27). The boy did not realize that he had already lost his hand. The doctor comes and puts the boy in the “dark of ether” (28) and the doctor tried to do what he could but it was to no avail the boy passed away. Frost uses a very descriptive last scene of the boy dying “And then? the watcher at his pulse took fright. No one believed. They listened at his heart.

Little? less? nothing! And that ended it. ” (29-32). Frost did not simply state and the boy died, but he chose to give his death a dramatic ending of his heart beating little, then less, then not at all. The boy died slowly in his dark of ether but not in a manner of frantic disbelief, but in a relaxed state of a slowing heart rate. The poem entails depth of drama, interest, and appeal. Frost uses personification to grab the reader’s interest in a regular everyday buzz-saw. If the buzz-saw just rattled and buzzed it would not appeal as much as a saw that snarls.

A buzz-saw does make a growling noise but not a deliberate mean growl. Frost also allows the buzz-saw to leap out of the boy’s hand. Frost chose to give the buzz-saw a life of its own to make it more appealing, to make it another important character in the poem. Frost also used foreshadowing to make the poem more interesting and to give it more detail. The buzz-saw once again was given mean characteristics and the sun was setting over the mountains ending the day, bringing darkness and symbolizing that the boy would die.

The title itself “Out, Out” foreshadows of death, and when the doctor finally comes he puts the boy in the dark of ether he is not quite dead yet, but he is unconscious. The poem appeals to the senses and it appeals to the mind making it one of the best poems’s ever written. There are many interesting poems that have been written. Robert Frost’s “Out, Out” is one of the most interesting, dramatic and appealing. Frost uses personification, appeals to the senses, symbolizes, and foreshadows in a poem of a snarling buzz-saw and a hard working boy. Works cited 1. Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Washington Square Press: 2003.