How is the buzz saw characterized in Robert Frost's "Out, Out—"?

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The buzz saw in the Robert Frost poem "Out, Out -" is personified, given the characteristics of a living, breathing entity, malevolent, like a beast. The buzz-saw "snarl(s) and rattle(s)...(making) dust and dropp(ing) stove-length sticks of wood." The saw also "(runs) light, or (has) to bear a load;" like a person or a domesticated animal, it works alongside human beings, helping them to do the work necessary to survive.

Although theoretically the humans are in charge of the machine, the buzz saw seems to have a dark energy, and a mind of its own. When the accident recounted occurs in the poem, Frost describes the saw as "leap(ing) out at the boy's hand," or at least not "refus(ing) the meeting" between the two, "as if to prove saws knew what supper meant." Just as the people are being called into supper to eat, so the saw will also eat - human flesh. The saw is a menacing presence, with power barely contained; the sound of its "snarl(ing) and rattl(ing)" is repeated three times during the course of the poem, reminding the reader of its nearness and danger.

The poem has often been interpreted as a commentary on industrialization. Although men create machines to aid them in their work, they also are often deliverers of destruction. In the shadow of the large and powerful instruments they have implemented, men become anonymous and vulnerable, like the boy whose life is snuffed out by the malevolent action of the buzz saw.

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