I need help to critically analyze the poem "Out, Out—" by Robert Frost

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I suggest beginning with the origins of the title as Macbeth's lament after the suicide of his wife Lady Macbeth (from the play by Shakespeare). There is with both deaths an inconvenience suggested. Macbeth is in the midst of fighting to retain the crown, and the woodsman have a job to finish. Both deaths seem to be more of a momentary diversion than a greatly mourned loss.

The poem makes great use of sibilance (repetition of the 's' sound) to emphasise the menacing action of the saw, and the boy's life ebbing away.

The buzz saw snarled and rattled

Frost also makes use of the caesura (an unnatural pause within a line) to suggest the interruption and halting of the day's work - and the life of the boy.

So. But the hand was gone already

The saw is also personified to suggest it is as responsible for the accident as the boy's carelessness or his distractor's voice. It gives the saw a cruel appearance too.