A narrative poem is a story which is told using the poetic devices. Some of these devices include rhyme, rhythm and repetition. The use of the latter is what makes the difference between an ordinary story and the narrative poem. “Out, Out—” by Robert Frost, is an example of a narrative poem which we shall discuss in this paper. It is about a young boy who loses his life as he perform some routine duty, in lumbering. It shows how young people are forced by circumstances to indulge in jobs too hard for their age, in order to overcome certain obstacles.
The setting of this poem is a lumbering village in New England, whereby people are working hard to overcome poverty. This can be proved by the fact that the young boy was cutting firewood, or rather felling trees, a situation which is experienced mostly in rural settings. However this does not completely dispute the fact that it may be in an urban setting, since in some urban area people still use wood for fuel, either r at personal level or commercial.
The plot of the poem starts with a relatively good mood as the young girl announces time for supper. To some extent, this is a form of relieve for the young boy who had been cutting the trees, for the whole day, without any break to rest. The announcement for supper was good news. Also at the beginning we see the serene environment as the trees fall down, displaying a beautiful scene of five mountain ranges, and the cool breeze which drew across the cut tree. As the narrative continues, a slightly sad mood sets in as the narrator reveals that the boy was doing work which was too much for his young age. The situation is worsened by the incidence of the buzz saw getting out of control and chopping off the young boy’s hand. However the boy still seems to have some hopes, and that is why he pleads with his sister not to allow the doctor to amputate his hand. The discovery of the fact that the hand was already cut, makes the narrative to draw into a more sad mood. The end of the narrative is the most sad part of the story, as the young boy parts with his dear life after severe hemorrhage. This leaves the onlookers with nothing to do, but accept the fact that life was so fragile and at one point or another, everybody has to die. With realization of this, the people continue with their routine jobs, since their life had to continue despite losing one of their own.
The main character is the young boy, his sister, the doctor and the boys’ work mates. The boy can be viewed as hardworking. This can be seen in the way he worked so hard the whole day, without taking any break. We can also conclude that the boy was very obedient. His obedience is seen by the way he stuck with the rest the whole day, without airing out any complains about the tough nature of the kind of work they were doing. Finally this boy was very determined in life, this was seen I how he was struggling for his life to the last minute. His sister is also hardworking. This is seen in the fact that she prepares supper on time and calls out for the rest to partake in the supper. This also shows that she is caring. Her caring nature can also be seen in her thought on how the others would have done justice to her young brother.
She is a very responsible girl, which is proved by her performing her duty to ensure that super was ready for those who were working. Her sense of responsibility is also seen when her brother entrust her with the responsibility of ensuring that the doctor did not amputate her hand. The boys’ workmates can be seen as hard working. This can be seen in how they work the whole day without taking any break. At the same time, these people can be viewed as ignorant. They were ignorant on the importance of free time needed for the young boy to relax and enjoy his childhood, which is very important for proper development of any child. The doctor, can simply be viewed as responsible, for taking his responsibility in ensuring that the boy die in less pain under anesthesia, and confirming the death.
There are mainly seven types of conflict. They include man being against either of the following; God, himself, nature, technology, destiny, society or fellow men. In this narrative Conflict of interest is seen between the younger generation and the older generation. This can be termed as conflict of man against society. As the younger generation sees break from work as something to marvel about, the older generation does not share on the same opinion, instead they insist on working hard the whole day. There is situational conflict, which is seen in the act of the residents cutting trees for their own use, not putting in mind that their act would have a negative effect in future. This is a conflict between man and nature. Conflict of human against destiny. This is seen as the young boy tells his sister not to allow the doctor to amputate his hand, which was already cut by the buzz saw. The hand was destined to be lost.
The climax of the poem is from the time the boy cuts his arm and struggles not to lose it, through the time when he realizes that he already had lost it and that everything was getting out of control. It goes further to the point where the doctor comes and confirm that the boy had lost his life, and everybody is shocked by this. The resolution comes when “they” accept the reality that they have lost one of their own, and refuse to dwell on that and instead, they move on with their own business.
The elements we have discussed above play a very important role in conveying the theme of the poem. To begin with, the setting, which is of a lumbering village, with the inhabitants struggling to fight poverty brings out clearly the theme of poverty and struggle. It also introduces the main theme of death, because it is in that environment that the young boy loses his life. The plot gives the narrative a flow and steadily brings the reader to the main theme. The characters are the main carriers of the message to be passed. It is only through the characters and what they do, that we can learn what the writer wants to tell the reader of the poem, or in other words the theme of the poem. The climax is used to create suspense, and stir up the reader’s curiosity and interest to continue reading the poem further in order to know what will happen. It also plays a very important role as the body of the poem, containing the main message of the poem.