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A comparison between "Out, Out-" by Robert Frost and "Death on a Live Wire" by Michael Baldwin

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G.C.S.E Post 1914 Poetry Coursework A comparison between "Out, Out-" by Robert Frost and "Death on a Live Wire" by Michael Baldwin Both of these poems that I have chosen to compare are about death, although the circumstances surrounding the death in each poem contrasts greatly. In the poem "Out, Out-" a "big boy doing a mans work" and getting his hand severed by a buzz saw in a dramatic accident. The injuries sustained in this accident then lead to the "boys" tragic death. "Death on a live Wire" similarly involves a death, but unlike the accidental death of the boy in "Out, Out-" the deceased in this poem actually takes his own life by climbing onto an electric pylon. In these two poems the poet gets across ideas that he may have wanted us to think about very well. In "Out, Out-" and similarly in "Death on a live wire," both Frost and Baldwin put across very well just how fickle life is, and how swiftly it can be taken away. Frost puts this across in "Out, Out-" by showing the dangers faced in every day working life, and the fact that the victim of this accident is a young boy goes on to emphasise his point of how fickle life actually is. ...read more.


Although the sense of foreboding is the main way that the writer creates mood in this poem, he also uses black humour to great affect when he says that as the boys sister called him for supper, the saw, "as to prove saws knew what supper meant, leaped out at the boys hand." By this the writer is humouring the way in which the saw seemed to leap out at the boys hand as if it were its food. The writer uses this technique very well, and it stops the poem from drifting from a lively mood to start off with, to a depressing mood, as it puts humour into the poem just before the mood starts to seem depressing because of the boys' accident. In contrast to Frosts use of onomatopoeia, Baldwin uses both personification, in the way that he calls the wire a "grinning wire," and run on lines to create the mood of the poem. The mood of this poem is somewhat depressing and sad, as the poem has both a tragic and sad mood to it. The way the poem is written in the form of a helpless onlooker watching the man seal his tragic fate adds to the depressing feel, as the onlooker describes the man as being "alone," which adds to the feeling that he died a sad and lonely death. ...read more.


The writer of "Death on a live Wire," Michael Baldwin, seems to have put a great amount of thought and effort into the layout, and rhyme scheme of his verses. The verses flow as if telling a story, with each verse looking at a different stage of the mans suicide, as well as building up the effect of the electricity on the mans body. Although at first glance this poem seems to have no rhyme scheme, it does appear to have a somewhat confused, internal, and alternate rhyme scheme. The writer seems to have chosen a seemingly confused alternate rhyme scheme in order to correspond to the mans state of mind, which also seems to be some what confused. Overall, although both poems were very interesting to read, the one that I preferred most was "Out, Out-." I preferred this most as it had a more upbeat feel to the mood, which was unlike the poem "Death on a live Wire," which seemed both sad and depressing. Another feature that I also enjoyed very in from the poem "Out, Out-" was the use of onomatopoeia to give the poem a flowing, sharp rhythm. The best use of this that is available in the poem is right at the beginning when the writer describes the buzz saw as snarling and rattling, which builds and image, as well as the sound of the buzz saw. ...read more.

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