After reading "The Death of the Hired Man," what have you learned about the lives of farmers?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Life of a farmer seems slower than the fast-paced world of business. They also have to deal with many different people coming to work for them throughout the year. This poem talks about an old man named Silas who comes back to a former employer at the end of his life and the farmer and his wife talk about his life and their memories of him. Through their conversation about Silas, the reader discovers that the farm-hand didn't think too highly of himself because he didn't have an education; he even tried to convince a younger man by the name of Harold Wilson not to go to college because he felt working on a farm was how a man could really contribute to life. From Warren's perspective, the farmer, we see his frustration with employees like Silas who came in and out of their lives each season and were easily coaxed into working for someone else for just a little bit more money; not enough money that he would consider worth trading loyalty for. The life of these farmers also revolved around themes of the definitions of family, home, and respect for a dying man. A great quote abou home came from Warren's wife Mary who said, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there,/ They have to take you in."