“Out, out-” - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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“Out, out-”

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  1. “Out, out-” Saturday, 29 December 2012

  2. Punctuation matters… • “-” The title is a quotation taken from Macbeth. “Out,out brief candle”. • INTERTEXTUALITY provides clue to outcome and ideas of the poem: • Death of a loved one is implied if the quotation is recognised.

  3. POEM • The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yardAnd made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.And from there those that lifted eyes could countFive mountain ranges one behind the otherUnder the sunset far into Vermont.And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,As it ran light, or had to bear a load.And nothing happened: day was all but done.Call it a day, I wish they might have saidTo please the boy by giving him the half hourThat a boy counts so much when saved from work.His sister stood beside them in her apronTo tell them "Supper." At the word, the saw,As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap—He must have given the hand. However it was,Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh,As he swung toward them holding up the handHalf in appeal, but half as if to keepThe life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—Since he was old enough to know, big boyDoing a man's work, though a child at heart—He saw all spoiled. "Don't let him cut my hand off—The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!"So. But the hand was gone already.The doctor put him in the dark of ether.He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.No one believed. They listened at his heart.Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.No more to build on there. And they, since theyWere not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

  4. IDEAS to consider… Alliteration, onomatopoeia and personification will run throughout – the saw is a character –destructive and violent • The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yardAnd made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.And from there those that lifted eyes could countFive mountain ranges one behind the otherUnder the sunset far into Vermont. Heavy single syllables reflect the size and weight of the sticks. Suggestion of something coming to an end. Life? A contrast emerges in this long and descriptive opening. Beauty in sensed in smell and sight though there is foreboding in the idea of “ those who lifted eyes”. There is also focus on the insignificance of the action against the 5 mountain ranges

  5. And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,As it ran light, or had to bear a load.And nothing happened: day was all but done.Call it a day, I wish they might have saidTo please the boy by giving him the half hourThat a boy counts so much when saved from work. “And” as conjunction adds to a sense of conversation. The sound of the saw replaces the idyllic evening of the previous lines – a threat is reintroduced, enhanced by the repetition. Balanced by the caesura – reinforces the ordinariness of the day. Does this make the reader aware that something will happen at a later stage? Who is the narrator? The boy is introduced –no name helps him to be representative rather than particular. The focus ins on childish and focuses on the wish for rest – even for something as small as “ the half hour”. “Saved” serves to act as a warning and an irony – this boy will be saved from work by death!

  6. Sudden direct speech. Attention is drawn to the homely nature of the events. The focus shifts to the saw – strong position a the end of line and then the subordinate clause to delay the discovery – tension is built. The personification is continued from the opening. A second character is introduced, the boy is still the focus thanks to “his”. His sister stood beside them in her apronTo tell them "Supper." At the word, the saw,As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap—He must have given the hand. However it was,Neither refused the meeting. But the hand! Strong verb implies speed. The narrator implies fallibility –in the drama, no one can be quite sure what happened- increases the tension since the event is still not clear. An unusual phrase which suggests both the boy making the error and his “sacrifice “of the hand A powerful line, again split by the caesura to give due weight to either half – the personified sense of calm inevitability in the euphemistic first half and the sudden shock as the result of the “meeting” becomes clear.

  7. The boy is restored as the focus. He is rueful – apologetic - and laughs. Surely he is in shock, but this image is one of a young boy who does not understand the gravity of his situation – an innocent? The use of enjambment recreates the sense of action which is continuous. “hand” is placed at the end of the line to ensure focus on the wound. The lines flow through to the sudden sentence end at “spilling”. The shock is reflected in the half line close –caesura - which enables the reader to focus on the “life” that is spilling – the blood. Innocence continues to be evoked by the “appeal” and the futility of the image of the “spilling”. The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh,As he swung toward them holding up the handHalf in appeal, but half as if to keepThe life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—Since he was old enough to know, big boyDoing a man's work, though a child at heart—He saw all spoiled. "Don't let him cut my hand off—The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!"So. But the hand was gone already. The dashes provide a stronger aside than parenthesis , the narrator is providing his own commentary on the events. The subordination again delays the narrative and we have to wait for information. When it comes it is the caesura once again which strengthens the idea of all being “spoiled”. The subordinate clause continues to develop the idea of the innocent –”big boy/Doing a Man’s work” sounds very like the pride that the child might have felt in himself. Now, in the narrator's mouth it carries a tragic irony. The direct speech builds the tension and increases the sense of panic felt by the boy. With a single word the narrator ends the story with a finality equivalent to the severing of the hand. The second half of the line is impersonal and dismissive and carries none of the emotion shown by the boy.

  8. After the sunset comes the night -death Almost playful – the image reinforces the innocence of the boy The doctor put him in the dark of ether.He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.No one believed. They listened at his heart.Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.No more to build on there. And they, since theyWere not the one dead, turned to their affairs. The dashes increase tension and deliver a sense of time passing. The watcher has no name, nothing distracts from the telling of the tale. Short, fragmented sentences mimic the halting of the heart as the boy dies. The end is delivered with an objective finality and an utter lack of overt emotion. The close feels harsh, yet it is also realistic and seems to represent the harsh reality of life on a farm -”things die” seems to be the message. There are no named characters hereand even the boy is no longer considered – “no more to build on there” suggests that his chapter of life is firmly closed.

  9. Heartless or pragmatic? • Sympathy is generated by the image of the boy as an innocent – he longs only for half an hour to rest… • The poem is not over emotional and the repressed emotion might be perceived as noble or impressive… • Or the narrator may be seen as unfeeling – he seems to be omniscient, almost God-like. What ideas might this suggest to you? • For Frost, it seems that there is a message that life goes on, whatever accidents chance to occur. We mourn, but do not waste time in mourning. • This is based on a true story. Has Frost served to immortalise a child that he knew too briefly? Has he managed to convey the fragility of life suggested in Shakespeare’s line he quotes as his title?