How would you describe Frost's tone of voice in the poem "Out, Out"?

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stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Frost is using a very unemotional and detached tone of voice in describing the tragic event recorded in "Out, Out." There is no personal involvement or connection between the voice telling the story and the persons actually involved in the action.

"Call it a day, I wish they might have said" indicates the narrator's awareness of how the events played out, but there is no indication of the narrator's approval or condemnation of the way in which the boy's responsibilities and capabilities were assessed and used or abused. The narrator expresses the wish that the boy had been spared the accident and the early death that resulted.

Once the accident happens, however, the narration is very matter-of-fact and straightforward. The boy pleads with his sister - "Don't let him cut my hand off" - but the injury is too severe. The boy dies. Life goes on - "they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs."

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kipling2448's profile pic

kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Robert Frost's tone in his poem "Out, Out" can best be described as "matter-of-fact." As the esteemed poet describes a boy, clearly not an adult, but a "big boy doing a man's work, though a child at heart" accidentally cutting off his hand and bleeding to death, he emphasizes the nonchalant manner in which this tragic event causes scarcely a ripple among the rest of society. The gravely wounded child begs his sister not to let the doctor amputate a limb that is already gone, and then takes his last breath as the doctor tends to him. Note in the closing passage of Frost's poem the detached, unemotional tone that emphasizes the insignificance of this death:
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it. 
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.
 
Anyone who has tended a loved one as that loved one breathes his or her last breath knows that the ordeal has been a solitary affair and that the pain of loss, while difficult, does not cause the rest of the world to stop functioning. The Earth continues to spin on its axis, and the rest of society continues to function much as it had before. People must still go to work and tend to their affairs. Only the immediate family fully feels the loss. Frost must have understood this phenomenon; his poem illuminates the impersonal nature of somebody else's tragedy. The tone is most definitely lacking in sentimentality. It seems to ask the reader to accept the inevitability of tragedy and death.
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deww6's profile pic

deww6 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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frost uses a very unemotional use language. He seems to be angry by the end of ther poem. We can see this from the last line when he talks about how none cared about them itself. Also he id an observer in the poem and not part of the problem in any way

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