Robert Frost Poetry Directions: Answer each question.

Name:___________________________________________________ Hour: ____ Date: _________________________
Robert Frost Poetry
Acquainted with the Night / Nothing Gold Can Stay / Out, Out
Directions: Answer each question.
1. What is the setting, including the time of day, of “Out, Out –“?
2. What happens to the boy in “Out, Out –“?
3. Examine the pairs of rhyming words in “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” What ideas do the rhymes help Frost convey
about nature and beauty?
4. “Out, Out –“ provides a portrait of solitude even among family. Identify words and phrases in which Frost
suggests the solitude of these characters in the face of tragedy. What theme emerges about human
5. The title of “Out, Out –“ is an allusion, or indirect reference to a well-known person, place or literary work—in
this case, a famous speech in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act Five, Scene 5). How does the following quotation from
Macbeth color your sense of Frost’s poem?
…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.
6. Identify several lines in any one of the three poems where Frost’s diction, his use of imagery, and/or mood is
particularly striking. Explain why you find it noteworthy and how Frost’s style helps deliver the poem’s message.
7. The literary critic and scholar Lionel Trilling hailed Frost for his “representation of the terrible actualities of life in
a new way.” Apply this comment to the three Frost poems you have just read.
 What are the “terrible actualities of life” in each poem?
 What might be considered “new” or unusual about Frost’s portrayal of these realities? Explain.
Acquainted with the Night
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
“Nothing Gold Can Stay”
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.
‘Out, Out—’
The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And 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 count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under 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 said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To 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 hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing 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 they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.