From the start of the poem, Frost immediately creates a sense that the rural idyll is being entreated upon by an evil being: industry. For example: “And the buzz saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled.” The repetition contained within this excerpt, obviously, is a suitable method of conveying the relentlessness of the buzz saw, but it is its positioning that strikes the reader: it is located after a brief passage of Frost eloquently describing the surrounding scenery: “Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it…under the sunset far into Vermont.” This quotation helps to juxtapose rural life with industrial and is also, obviously, allegorical for the boy’s life being ended by the saw.
However, Frost also explores ulterior themes that underlie the majority of the poem. For example, on numerous occasions, it seems that Frost, using the events that unfold throughout the course of the poem, is commenting upon the altogether naivety and short-sightedness of farmers in rural America: “From there those that lifted eyes could count five mountain ranges.” This quotation particularly shows Frost making a profound and subtle inference on the fact that farmers do not ap...
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...ing of the arm is complexly expressed by Frost using an advanced myriad of techniques. Imagery, however, is what initially strikes the reader: “As if to prove saws knew what supper meant.” This personification of the saw shows an ulterior intelligence within the mechanisms of industry: it is as if it is wilfully destroying a human life. The metaphoric ‘meeting’ of saw with flesh is also profound: “He must have given the hand. However it was, neither refused the meeting.” This implies that the boy has suicidal tendencies, but also, allegorically, shows a wilful merging of two contrasting ways of life.
Despite the initial appearance of the poem as simplistic and even uninteresting, when one digs deeper into the pile of literary techniques cast into the poem by Frost a wholly different piece begins to unfurl slowly: a comment appropriate to most of his other works.
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