In Robert Frost's poem, "Out, out—", find a use of: paradox, metaphor, irony, metonymy, allusion, personification, symbol, and imagery.

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In Robert Frost's poem, "Out, out—", there are a number of literary devices employed.

Paradox is seen with the following line which describes the boy doing a man's job. One might be confused that a boy could do a man's job, but he is a "big" boy, old enough to do the work—perhaps, however, there is a chiding or sorrowful note that a boy was doing a man's job...

...big boy / Doing a man's work, though a child at heart--

Irony can be found in the following passage. The irony is that the boy is given a man's job, but more than knowing how to cut the wood, the boy is man enough to know the implications of what has happened with this accident—what it means to him: losing the use of his hand, or worse...

Then the boy saw all--

Since he was old enough to know, big boy

Doing a man's work, though a child at heart--

He saw all spoiled.

There is a metaphor in the line that speaks of the boy being anesthetized during surgery as they try to save his hand—his life:

The doctor put him in the dark of ether...

Metonymy is used with the following line, which is used instead of saying, "It's time to eat." Here "supper" represents the process of eating a meal.

To tell them 'Supper'...

We see allusion in the mountain ranges that are described here, may be referring to the Green Mountains, which are a part of the Appalachian Mountain range.

Five mountain ranges one behind the other

Under the sunset far into Vermont.

An example of personification refers to the hand and the saw as things "meeting" like people would. (There is also a play on words here, the giving of a hand is what one does in meeting someone—people shake hands)...

He must have given the hand. However it was,

Neither refused the meeting.

One symbol may be found in the "hand." In some cultures, the image of the hand (hamsa) is seen... a superstitious defense against the evil eye [bad luck].

In this case, the boy's loss of hand indicates his loss of luck or defense against something bad.  The hand is symbolic in the Christian faith as a sign of a blessing, but also a benediction or a form of blessing. However, the hand might represent the expressiveness of a hand: something that can share a sense of love—with a touch, can complete a task, clap with joy, or be held by another in love or affection. It can offer comfort, be extended in friendship, or hold a child. It seems symbolic of life here in all that a hand means to a person: especially to a working man, which the boy hopes to be someday.

Imagery is used throughout the poem. In fact, the literary devices you have mentioned above are all forms of imagery. However, an example of imagery that does not pertain to one of the devices mentioned can be seen in:

And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,

Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.


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