Analyze the last line of the poem. How does this line affect the reader's understanding of the poem as a whole? Explain your response with direct reference to the text.

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The last line represents some of the most disturbing elements featured in the poem.  After enduring the pain of the boy pleading with the sister to prevent the doctor from amputating his arm, enduring the blood and pain of the ordeal, the final testimony to this episode is that the family ends up moving on with the boy's horrific incident almost an afterthought.  I think that the hollowness featured in some emotional relationships is brought out powerfully in the closing line.  The idea that the mourning period of a death and its experience are taken in different ways, with different approaches is evoked.  The final piece I am left with is the idea that the sensationalist drama of the boy has given way after he dies.  There might be a statement about how individuals are gripped by situations, only to move on from them after they have passed with little, if any, reflection on them.

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To me, the last line reflects a really terrible view of human nature on the part of Robert Frost (or at least on the part of whoever is narrating the poem).

The last line calls into question the relationships between the various members of the family.  It implies that they didn't really care a whole lot about their son.  Once they figure out that he is dead they go about their business because they are not the ones who died.

So, overall, this line turns the whole feel of the poem around.  From the time that the boy has his accident until the last line, you assume that everyone feels awful.  But then it appears they don't care.

This makes the whole poem seem cynical and like it's saying that human beings don't really care about each other.

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