Out, Out

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Questions from pg 495

1. How does Frost make the buzz-saw appear sinister? How does he make it seem, in another way, like a friend? a. The first line, “The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard” and the seventh line “And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled” both emit a sense of darkness, as if having a “personality” of its own. b. When the sister came out and told the brother that supper was ready and the saw looked as if it “leaped” out of the boys hand, it seemed as if the saw was a friend of the boy that did not want to be abandoned, so it pulled away from the boy in anger, causing injury to the boy. The saw and the boy were in essence “friends” because of the time they spent together sawing firewood, and when faced with the boy leaving was upset.

2. What do you make of the people who surround the boy—the “they” of the poem. Who might they be? Do they seem to you concerned and compassionate, cruel, indifferent, or what? a. The “they” of the poem appear to be his family, possibly his uncles, aunts, or cousins. They could be neighborhood friends of the boys. b. Whoever they were, they did not seem to be very concerned that the boy was injured, let alone dead. They seemed uncompassionate and unconcerned about what they had witnessed.

3. What does Frost’s reverence to Macbeth contribute to your understanding of “ ‘Out, Out—’ ”? How would you state the theme of Frost’s poem? a. It seems to me that Macbeth’s verse is about how short life is, that life is just a shadow, a player, in the game of life, that walks around on a stage, then one day is over. Frost uses part of the first line of Macbeth’s verse “Out, out” as his title as a way to agree with and reference Macbeth as one of his role models in poetry. b. I feel that Frost uses the theme “life and death” as the main concept of “Out, out.”

4. Set this poem side by side with “Sir Patrick Spence.” How does “ ‘Out, Out—’ ”...
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