What literary devices are being used in Robert Frost's poem "Out, Out—"?  

In "Out, Out—," Frost uses the literary device onomatopoeia in the description of the saw "rattl[ing]" and "snarl[ing]," also uses personification of the saw as something that possesses human understanding and ability. He employs metonymy when the speaker says that the "life" was "spilling" from the boy's hand; the word "life" is substituted for "blood." The matter-of-fact tone contributes to the strangely calm mood, despite the tragedy, and the title alludes to a famous and appropriate monologue from Shakespeare's Macbeth.

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When the speaker says that the "buzz saw snarled and rattled," they employ a literary device called onomatopoeia: a word whose sound duplicates the sound it describes. Both snarl and rattle are examples of onomatopoeia.

The speaker describes how the saw behaved:

As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
[It] Leaped out at the boy's hand [...]

In this description, they use personification: the attribution of human qualities to something that is not human. In this case, the saw is given the ability to know something as well as to leap.

After the saw cuts through the boy's wrist, nearly severing his hand, the speaker uses metonymy—a substitution for something associated with a thing for that thing itself—when he says that the boy holds up the hand

as if to keep
The life from spilling.

It is not really life spilling out of this terrible wound but blood, but because blood is so closely associated with life, we understand what is being said here. The more blood the boy loses, the more likely he is to lose...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1064 words.)

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