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With close reference to Out, Out - explore how Frost directs the readers sympathies

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With close reference to ?Out, Out -? explore how Frost directs the reader?s Sympathies The title of the poem alludes to Macbeth?s last soliloquy, in Act V of ?Macbeth?. He has just found out that his wife is dead, and his speech includes the metaphor ?out, out, brief candle?. The metaphor implies that life is short, it is only the lighting of a candle, and can be ended easily, even by just a draft of wind. Frost?s poem explores this fragility of life, how it can be over so quickly, before it has even begun. By doing this, he evokes sympathies in the reader for the boy, and the shortness of his life. At the beginning of the poem, Frost presents us with a naturalistic observation of the setting, creating a calm and peaceful feeling. He describes the wood as ?sweet-scented stuff?, the sibilance could reflect the gentle sound of the breeze. This makes the events of the poem more shocking to the reader, as it started with pretty images of rural America, and then leads to the death of an innocent boy. Although the sibilance could be seen as a more disturbing sound, like a serpent hissing, which is more ominous and warns the reader that something bad will happen. ...read more.


This is ironic, considering that it is leaping to chop off his hand. All of this happens so quickly, the leaping out only takes a second, which suggests that human life is very fragile, and can be destroyed in a moment. This fragility is evident in the line ?little - less - nothing!?, it is like he is drifting further away with every word. The structure of the sentence physically separates the words, and could give the impression of his heart beat, where every word is one beat. Also, the way it is stated so simply could reflect the simplicity of life, one moment you are chopping wood, the next there is ?nothing!?. The exclamation mark at the end emphasises that it is over, he has died. It could also express that the poet thinks the situation is ridiculousness, that a boy died from chopping wood. The reader pities him, not only because his life ended so fast and so simply, but he was just doing an everyday job when it did. The boy recognises that his life is fragile, when he holds up his hand ?as if to keep the life from spilling out?. ...read more.


Frost only asks for half an hour for him, a small reward, and the fact that he?d count it so much implies that he doesn?t get much free time to be a child. It suggests that he works long hours everyday, which the reader would sympathise with him for anyway. But put on top of that his death at such a young age, and it would have been all he?d known, makes a devastating idea, one that the reader would feel greatly sorry for him for. His premature death is symbolised in the line, ?No more to build on there.? It suggest that the boy was only the foundations, he had the building of a life to come. This makes his death even more tragic, as he was only at the start of life. Overall, the poem explores the fragility of human life. Furthermore, it doesn?t use any names, implying that the situation is universal, and can apply to anyone. Perhaps this allows the reader to feel more empathy, as they can apply the situation to their own lives, as the boy is just a boy, he has no name. Also, whilst there may be some sympathy for the family, in the fact that they lost a child/brother, I think Frost tries to divert the attention/sympathy away from them, particularly in the last line. ...read more.

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