Out, Out By Robert Frost Summary & Analysis

“Out, Out-” is a poem written by Robert Frost, first published in 1916. The poem is a narrative that tells the story of a young boy who loses his life while working with a saw. The poem is set in rural New England and is known for its bleak and dramatic imagery.

The poem begins with the boy being called “Out, Out” to stop working with the saw. The reader is then told about the boy’s activities, such as chopping wood and being in charge of the saw. The boy is described as “a boy too far from town to learn baseball,” and the poem portrays a sense of isolation and loneliness.

As the poem progresses, the boy’s hand slips, causing the saw to cut into his flesh. Despite the severity of the injury, the boy is initially unaware of the damage and continues to try and work with the saw. However, soon after the boy realizes the extent of his injury and begins to feel the pain. The poem ends with the boy’s death and the saw continuing to work, symbolizing the monotony and repetition of life and death.

The poem is often interpreted as a commentary on the harsh realities of life, particularly in rural areas. Frost’s use of imagery, such as the “snarl” of the saw and the boy’s “loud and incredulous” cry, creates a vivid and powerful depiction of the tragedy. Additionally, the poem’s focus on the mechanical repetition of the saw and the boy’s death suggests a larger commentary on the inevitability and senselessness of death.

Critics have praised Frost’s use of language and imagery in “Out, Out-“, noting the effectiveness of his simple yet powerful style. The poem has also been interpreted as a commentary on the dangers of industrialization, particularly in rural areas where children were often employed in dangerous manual labor. Some have also interpreted the poem as a commentary on the transience and fragility of life, particularly for those who lived in poverty.

Overall, “Out, Out-” is considered one of Frost’s most powerful and memorable poems, showcasing his mastery of language and his ability to create powerful images and narratives. Its themes of death, loss, and the inevitability of tragedy continue to resonate with audiences, making it a timeless and poignant work of poetry.