Society's Indifference in Out, Out- by Robert Frost

Society's Indifference in Out, Out- by Robert Frost

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Society's Indifference in Out, Out- by Robert Frost


In what society do we live in today, where a women can be raped and
killed, and the crime is thought to be common place? In "Out, Out-",
Robert Frost almost satirizes society's indifference at a child's death.
In lines 3-6, Frost sets the scenery of the poem by describing
"sweet-scented stuff", the scenery of beautiful mountains and a
beautiful sunset. He begins it in a traditional transcendentalist
fashion where nature seems perfect and nothing could ever go wrong. All
of a sudden Frost makes a rapid shift to describing the snarling and the
rattling of the saw as if mimicking an evil snake waiting to attack.
With the line "And nothing happened: day was all but done.", Frost
quickly reverts to his peaceful tone; a tone which creates doubts in the
picture he is painting and begins to foreshadow the upcoming tragedy.
In line 19, the first traces of society's indolence towards death
appear as the boy does not scream at the pain; instead, he puts forth a
"rueful laugh". The irony continues when the boy holds up his hand "in
appeal", as if anything can be done for his hand. He then pleads with
his sister to disallow the removal of his hand. This whole section is
very graphic and the boy's pleas for help serve to darken the mood even
more from the once "sweet-scented stuff" of the first six lines.
Frost makes his final point very clear in the last two lines where the
boy finally dies and his family, as well as society, decides to return
to their affairs. The boy can no longer saw the wood and is therefore
no longer useful, "no more to build on there." Frost is being quite
cold in the end of the poem as he hits you hard with the reality that

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nobody could care less that a young boy suffered a tragic loss. As in
Brave New World, the boy is nothing but a member of the collective.
Frost may be exaggerating the situation of society, but when someone
doesn't even blink an eye at a double murder it makes you think that
maybe we are not to far away from our own "brave new world."
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