What would be an analysis of Robert Frost's poem, "Out, Out—"?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Robert Frost's poem, "Out, Out—" is a poem written in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) in which an unidentified third-person narrator describes a farm accident resulting in the death of a young boy.

It begins with a description of a boy operating a buzz saw, cutting "stove-length sticks of wood". This suggests that the task was cutting up wood to be used in the family's wood stove as part of the boy's regular chores around the farm, as opposed to an actual job. 

The narrator then describes the sun setting over the Vermont mountains, and the boy's sister calling him in to supper. Then:

... At the word, the saw,

As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,

Leaped out at the boy’s hand, ...

The saw cuts off the boy's hand. The boy pleads not to let the doctor amputate the hand, not aware that the hand is already cut off. The doctor uses ether to anesthetize the boy, but the boy dies as he is being treated. The narrator describes the family's reaction:

... And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.
 
Although some readers think the family's reaction is callous, Frost himself appreciated the stoicism of his Vermont neighbors. Although no doubt the family felt grief deeply, they did not engage in self-indulgent displays, but realized that even with the boy dead, farm chores still needed to be done. As with many of Frost's poems, this portrays endurance in the face of mortality, a sort of endurance that is not overcome by grief, but is almost heroic in its quiet persistence, and refusal to let death triumph by destroying the lives of the ones who survive.
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