Out out by robert frost
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“Out, Out –” by Robert Frost PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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“Out, Out –” by Robert Frost. Stefanie Clinton. Title. The quote “Out, Out –” is from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” given by the primary character, Macbeth.

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“Out, Out –” by Robert Frost

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Out out by robert frost

“Out, Out –” by Robert Frost

Stefanie Clinton



  • The quote “Out, Out –” is from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” given by the primary character, Macbeth.

    • Macbeth says this in his soliloquy in Act V. He discusses the “illusion” of life, stating, “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.” He later goes on to say that it “[signifies] nothing”.



  • A buzz saw is heard from the yard and the scenery appears to be beautiful. The speaker wishes that “they” would have let “the boy” stop his work for a break, which he so hopefully yearned for. The boy’s sister told him to come inside for dinner. Suddenly, the saw attacked the boy’s hand. The boy laughed ruefully and showed “them” his bloody, torn hand. The boy, who was truly a man at heart due to all the work that was forced upon him, understood what was going to happen. He pleaded that his sister would not let the doctors cut his hand off but it might as well have been off already. The boy was anesthetized and soon died. After that, there was nothing else for “them” to do but return to their affairs, unharmed.



  • The poem suggests the dangers of hard labor, especially on children. It also suggests that children are forced to be adults when thrust into such things.

    • Imagery: contradicting images of beauty and violence create a juxtaposition of innocence in children and the harmful nature that labor has on them.

      • In the beginning of the poem, the buzz saw is described as dropping “sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.” The setting is also described as something beautiful: “Five mountain ranges one behind the other under the sunset far into Vermont...”

      • As the poem nears the end, violent images are depicted: “The saw.....leaped out at the boy’s hand.....[The boy] swung toward them holding up the hand.....as if to keep the life from spilling.”

Connotation cont

Connotation (Cont.)

  • Point of view: a third person perspective allows us to view the events through an un-biased eye. For example, we do not see through the eye’s of the sister, who more than likely thinks that he should have been doing work and that something like this was bound to happen anyway.

  • Allusions: the title’s allusion to Macbeth’s soliloquy about life indicates that the poem makes a statement about life.

  • Irony: usually children are not associated with dangerous work, but in this story, a child is associated with it. Not only that, but he dies from it.

    • “They listened to [the boy’s] heart. Little – less – nothing! – and that ended it.”

Connotation cont1

Connotation (Cont.)

  • Onomatopoeia: the sound of the buzz saw intertwined throughout the poem emphasizes the dangerous nature that the young boy has been placed in.

    • “The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard.”

“Snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled...”



  • The speaker’s attitude is remorseful and full of shock. He feels pity for the young boy because he was forced to work so much, but is also shocked at what actually occurred.

    • Remorse: “Call it a day, I wish they might have said to please the boy by giving him the half hour that a boy counts so much when saved from work.”

    • Shock: “The saw.....leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap.....However it was, neither refused the meeting. But the hand!”

  • The author does not believe that children should be put to work and is sorrowful that such occurrences as these have happened before.



  • Two shifts occur. The first occurs when the actual accident happens, and the second occurs after the boy has died.

    • The first shift is a shift in tone: ordinary, mundane

      shocked, frightened

    • The second shift is another shift in tone: shocked, frightened dark, sullen

  • These shifts highlights how lightly such drastic events may have been taken during this time period (early 1900s).



  • In Macbeth’s “Out, Out” soliloquy in “Macbeth,” he is discussing life and death. He discusses it very lightly, implying that death is to come eventually and life distracts people from it. He states that “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.”

    • Frost’s title is emphasizing the perspective of society as they place children in such treacherous positions where they are so very near to death. It is as if society (at this time) viewed life as meaningless.



  • Labor

  • Innocence

  • Violence

  • Death

  • Ignorance

  • Society stakes its claim that life is something that is meaningless when it deprives children of cherishing the beauty of their lives and experiencing it for many more years.

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