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How does Frost create a sense of horror in "Out Out"?

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user988178 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM via web

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How does Frost create a sense of horror in "Out Out"?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:04 PM (Answer #1)

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The sense of horror starts with the setting of the poem. Frost carefully establishes the scenic and peaceful surroundings in which the action of the poem takes place. Amidst the aroma of the sawdust, overlooked by the mountains of Vermont, all was as it had been on many days previously. Life was following its normal pattern.

And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened

Because the boy had cut wood many times before and because of the sudden and unpredicted nature of the accident, the unexpected event becomes even more horrifying. Frost, however, uses completely unemotional, factual language to describe the boy's immediate reaction. "he swung toward them holding up the hand Half in appeal, but half as if to keep The life from spilling."

Possibly most horrifying of all is the detached manner in which the others on the scene react to the boy's death from this tragic accident. After witnessing the final breaths, "they, since they Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs."


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