A Comparison Between “Out, Out” by Robert Frost and “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen
“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more”. Undeniably this bittersweet reference from Shakespeare’s Macbeth that illustrates the image of a wavering candle light that is fragile and brief also brings to mind the spirit of life, which at the same time is also brief in addition to easily snatched away. “Out, out" is a poem by Robert Frost whom tells the tale of a young boy that has lost his life under and unfortunate circumstance. In comparison, “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen depicts a man that has left part of his existence in war. Both poems assert ideas that insinuate brevity along with fragility of both characters in the poem, in addition to the essence that life will go on, that a singular life such as those of the characters are insignificant on a universal scale as when the young soldier from “Disabled” returned from war he is shunned and forgotten and the boy from “Out, out” where the people around him moved on even when he had just died.
We sympathize for the characters for different reasons. An example of which would be for ‘Disabled’ pathos is enunciated by the loss of the soldiers legs and the dramatic transition of his life ‘before’ and ‘after’, on the other hand pathos in ‘Out out’ is reinforced by the desperation the boy has to live along with the grotesque imagery and the fact that the boy has experienced a hard life. Both are really tragic in means of how pathos is thus generated.
“Out, out” exemplifies how a young boy’s life comes to an ill-fated endue to an accident concerning a buzz saw which severs his hand off – a loss of life and the human condition which corresponds to “Disabled” describes the experiences of a soldier who was come back from war but as a social outcast due to his immobility – he lost his youth which is the prime of his life, his human condition. However, both poems show similarity in the fact that both personas have lost a vital part of their body which; in a sense completes them physically and mentally. Additionally the fact that these body parts are important towards their work and their social life without either a heavy impact is placed upon them. Ultimately the personas life and livelihood has been affected in ‘Disabled’, furthermore how in a sense the incident has killed him on the inside yet he still has to live with the emotional scars – Owen uses irony as he indicates that the persona himself “threw away” his legs merely because of foolish reasons to enlist which now leaves him “legless” and “sewn short at elbow” clarifying his disabilities. Whereas in contrast with ‘Out, Out!’ in which the boy has died because of shock in which the human condition that encompasses his experience as a living being had been stripped away from him – he had lost his mortal entities.
Starting of the poem Owen suggests the feeling of pathos with a solemn, depressing and gloomy atmosphere of “boys voices” that “rang saddening like a hymn” whilst the persona himself “shivered in his ghastly suit of grey”. Owen also evokes this pathos by generating compassion and sympathy towards the persona by contrasting life before and after the war. In addition, he blends in the idea that war is ignoble as Owen contrasts the preconceptions of war the persona had initially through listing the “jewelled hilts for daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes – Esprit de corps” to further signify that war is the opposite of the initial thought. Pathos is also accentuated through the realization of the persona that the persona himself had “threw away his knees” – which indicates that he is responsible and he knows it and is living with this awful heartbreaking realization. Owen’s ‘Disabled’, similar to Frost’s ‘Out Out’ also plays out the theme of regret but it is clearly more frequent than in ‘Out Out’. In ‘Disabled’ Owen portrays the...
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