One of my favorite Frost poems, "The Death of the Hired Man," seems to have been written with this question in mind :). Early in the poem Warren is grousing about Silas' returning home to them:
“When was I ever anything but kind to him?/But I’ll not have the fellow back."
In the beginning, Silas is judged by the fact that he wandered off looking for a little pay,"Enough at least to buy tobacco with,/So he won't have to beg and be beholden." He is no longer productive, and it's unclear if he ever was, except for his ability to "build a load of hay." This is probably the American nightmare ... judging another in terms of their work, what they can DO, their cash value.
The best part of the poem is the transition that takes place in Warren as he comes to realize that Silas is a lot more than just a worker. He's a complicated individual. Mary utters one of the most telling remarks int he poem: "He don't know why is...
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