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Comparing Robert Frost's Out Out and Seamus Heany's Mid Term Break

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Comparing Robert Frost's Out Out and Seamus Heany's Mid Term Break

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The subject of both poems is the untimely death of young people in

tragic accidents rather than sickness. Strangely both boys are killed

by machinery, the boy in "Out, Out-' by a mechanical saw and the boy

in "Mid-Term Break" by a car. Both poems describe the reactions of the

families to the deaths each of the families reacting quite

differently. Both poems talk about the deaths of young boys who have

older or younger siblings; one has at least one sister, while the

other has an elder brother and a younger sibling.

"Mid-Term Break" is written in the first person and is a far more

personal poem consequently the emotions expressed in it are much

easier observe and appreciate than in "Out, Out-' which is written in

the third person, distancing the reader and giving a much colder

perspective of the events.

"Mid-Term Break" is set in Northern Irelandwhile "Out, Out-' is set

"far into Vermont".

"Mid-Term Break" tells the tale of an older brother summoned home from

college because of the death of his young brother who has been run

over by a car. The main part of the poem is set in the family home,

prepared for the brother's funeral. The family is traumatized by the

event the parents suffering mostly the "father crying' - the mother

"coughed out angry tearless sighs". "Out, Out-' presents a different

death scene - far more sudden and unanticipated during the poem. A boy

working in a family's saw house is out helping by sawing down trees.

His sister calls him for food, shouting "supper" and as a result, he

slips and the saw cuts his hand. Surprisi...

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...ferent religions with the Protestants either keeping their grief to

themselves or merely accepting God's hand in the tragedy while the

Catholics find solace in an open display of grief and the comfort of

ritual such as the flowers and candles and lying in state of the

corpse in an open coffin for people to pay their last respects.

Alternatively it may hint at a completely different lifestyle; while

the family in 'Mid Term Break' seem to be quite well off, the family

in 'Out, Out-' may have to concentrate on survival and therefore have

to carry on eking out a living and do not have the time nor the energy

to mourn. I cannot truthfully say that I enjoyed either of the two

poems, but they both dealt with the subject of the sudden death of a

child in ways that remain with you long after you have finished

reading the poems.
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