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

Frost's poem "The Death of the Hired Man" brings up many different perspectives through the lives of the characters therein. There's the farmer and his wife, the old man and the young man. Life in farming is competitive, lonely, expensive and not lucritive. It's also tough on a person's body because it demands intense physical labor that will wear someone out early. And back when Frost wrote the poem (early to mid twentieth century) farmers had machinery, but none of the technology or higher forms of machinery that farmers have today. But the most interesting thing about this poem has to be why the old man returns to a farm that he left for another farmer's pay. Migrant farmers worked wherever they could find the highest paying farmer. As a result, they led lives of solitude with no real place to call home. The farmer and his wife discuss the topic of what home really is since the old man arrives at their home to die; but, as far as having learned something, it seems that the loneliness and competitiveness of farming is the most insightful.