North of Boston "The Best Way Out Is Always Through"

Robert Frost

"The Best Way Out Is Always Through"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: A New England farm wife is talking to a naturalist who has come to camp on their land. She welcomes the naturalist because she is given a chance to escape work by talking. She was reared in a loveless home, where her mother had to take care of a mad brother-in-law. She feels that her uncle's insanity is hereditary, and she has spent some time in the State Asylum. Len, her husband, is a good man. He wants to do what is right and intends to do it, but he is slow to accomplish it. While he spends too much time in town, he neglects his farm, turning the work over to numerous hired hands, who do not do the work as it should be done. She has to serve these servants, and she rebels against the overwork, the neglect, the lack of love of her husband. The spirit of the poem, of the wife, and of Len is caught in these lines spoken by the wife:

It's rest I want–there, I have said it out–
From cooking meals for hungry hired men
And washing dishes after them–from doing
Things over and over that just won't stay done.
By good rights I ought not to have so much
Put on me, but there seems no other way.
Len says one steady pull more ought to do it.
He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through. . . .