Death of a Hired Man

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  • Published : November 28, 2012
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Subject Matter
The subject matter of the poem is of a couple that live on a farm. Mary is sat waiting for Warren to arrive home. When she sees him she tells him that Silas is back. The two start talking about Silas and Mary tells Warren how worn out he looks. They talk about how he used to work on the farm and the boy that used to work with him, who is now a scholar to Silas's dislike. Mary then tell warren that Silas has come here to die and how he sees this place as his home. Warren mentions Silas rich brother and how Silas wont go to see him because of his pride. Warren goes inside to how Silas is doing and when he returns out side he tell Mary that he is dead.

Themes
The themes that are present in this poem is life as well as death, Family & Friendship, Home and belonging.

Life & Death
The sense of death is set when Mary says "he has come home to die:/ you needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time" and the couple start to reminisce of Silas's life and the things that he used to do.

Character Development

Mary’s character is shown us from the first line. Although the day has been busy—busy enough that she and her husband had to go their separate ways to get everything done, with Warren returning from the market at or after dark, Mary just waits at the table, being close to Silas should he wake up, but not occupied with end-of-day tasks such that she might miss the sound of Warren’s approach. She does not dare miss Warren at the door, and prepare him for what he will find in the kitchen. Mary is a mixture of kindness, firmness, and resolve. She advises her husband to “Be kind” then “you mustn’t laugh at him” and then “Go look. See for yourself.” Yet she only does this after she has softened Warren’s hard crust. She is concerned that Warren will hurt Silas’ feelings. She dragged Silas into the house, gave him tea, tried to make him smoke, urges him to talk about his situation. She is comforting to the wayward worker. And his sorry condition...
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