Out, Out – by Robert Frost

Thesis Statement

“Out, out” is a poem written by Robert Frost and was published in 1916 to display the nature of human kind in the world and how they value and perceive live different in nature. He uses ‘they’ to refer to the boy and the men in the poem chopping wood but each represents something different. This essay will explore the various views the author of the poem wanted to convey concerning the nature of mankind of today, how they value their own lives and those others. Further it will shade light on how human needs and occupations interfere with human views about life.

In the poem, the author begins by present the image of immature boy who is hungry and tired. He is still cutting wood with a buzz saw even though its dinner time which means that it’s late in the evening when people should be out of work. He and the other older men working up to late in the night shows how these  people value work more than even resting their bodies simply because it’s a means of meeting the basics of life like food.  They do not have even half-an hour break from work. There view towards life is all about working. Thus they forego early rest at the expense of extra work in anticipation of making life better, (Delbanco, 2001).

The age of the boy cutting firewood keeps the reader of the poem in worry. He seems to be too young to do such kind of work. He should probably be in school other than doing such work. This is shown from the excitement he shows immediately the sister tells him that dinner is ready. And at the height of this excitement he cuts his hand. He is at his teen age which requires more food to grow and develop. The older men cannot advise this young man to go to school. The author here tries to show us how the community gives work an upper hand than schooling their young people. Thus they have the positive view towards work than education.

The boy chops off the hand on excitement of dinner. It’s as if the saw was also demanding its share. The boy on seeing this he bleeds with his sister to request the doctor not to cut off his hand, "Don't let him cut my hand off – The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!”.

He is scared about his life without both hands. May be his worry is based on missing the job of cutting the woods incase he loses one hand. The boy is spoiled up to an extent of consider work more important than human life. He further argues that the boy wishes that ‘if it’s to die let him die with physical dignity than dyeing with a missing hand’. In his life his views were to live with all the body parts present than missing one. To him, he sees that death is better than missing one part of the body especially the hand. It may look childish kind of reasoning but it may again reflect the kind of hardship the boy is undergoing which forces him to work in wood cutting.

Then there is this human view about other individuals’ concern which the author developed towards the end. The older men are blamed for not showing concern about the boy’s affair in work. They were not scared of seeing a small boy doing men’s work. Since they are older than the boy they should have advised the boy to take a break or to go home and rest since it was past working hours.  They may also have advised him to go back to school and further his education. This view is further elaborated by the information about the soldiers’ attitude and the way they detach themselves from emotions. They continue killing despite seeing the death bodies around them. The same way the older men continued with their work despite seeing the way the boy was perishing (dying), “ And they since they were not the one dead turned to their own affairs”(Robert Frost, 2008). This is the negative view of human kind towards the lives and well being of others.

The poem is very effective in communicating an exact message on how young people who are said to be the future of the nations are destroyed by the views of the world demand and those older people than them.  The pressing needs which sometimes families have failed to deliver to the young generation are to be blamed in destroying the lives of these young nations.