November 7th, 2011 - Jessamine County Schools

Frost Analysis
“Out, Out” Analysis
*The title of the poem is an allusion to William
Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.
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:
Hint: Macbeth just learned of his wife’s death.
Effect: The title conveys the brevity of life. Life is short and
Line 1: “The buzz saw snarled”
Personification - He uses personification to make the saw
come alive in the poem.
“snarled and rattled”
Onomatopoeia –
*This portrays the harsh sounds of the saw which casts
the saw in a negative light. Readers can hear what sounds
the buzz saw makes, and these sounds also interrupt the
tranquil setting.
Imagery Examples
Lines 3-6
“Sweet-scented stuff”
“Five mountain ranges”
“Under the sunset far into Vermont”
*Gives the reader a visual (word picture) of the
*The setting is very peaceful, while the events
are quite violent.
Blank Verse
Line 10: “Call it a day”
Effect: Frost uses blank verse to capture every
day speech.
(There are many more examples!)
Lines 14-18
“As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,”
“Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to
“Life from spilling”
*Frost describes the saw as if it had a mind of its
own and could understand that is was time to be
fed, as though the saw “eats” the boy’s hand.
*Frost makes it seem like the saw cut the boy on
purpose. He uses personification to make the saw
come alive in the poem.
Line 24
“Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart”
Effect: This line explains that this boy has the
strength of a man but a mind of a child, so he
might not be mature enough to be
maneuvering a buzz saw.
The title “Out, Out” is an allusion to
Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.
Effect: It conveys the idea that life is both
short and fragile.
“Mending Wall” Worksheet
Line 12 through Line 15: What is the effect
and the significance of the repetition of the
word “wall”?
*Repetition of the word wall creates “walls” of lines
in the poem.
*Repetition emphasizes the literal and figurative
wall between the neighbor.
Line 16: How would you describe the rhythm
of this line? Compare this line to others in terms
of rhythm and meter.
*The line “To each the boulders that have fallen to
each” represents a brilliant move, since this is the
point at which the boulder falls off the wall and
the poem falls out of its previous consistent
*The form literally mimics the content, because
here the boulder falls off the wall.
Lines 17 and 18: Compare the meter of
these two lines. What is the effect of the
extra syllable of line 18?
*Line 18 has an extra syllable. The word
“balance” hangs off the line.
*Again, Frost emphasizes the boulders
that are off balance with the extra syllable,
which is similar to Line 16.
Line 22: Compare this line to Line 9 in
terms of form and content.
*The end of the sentence/period emphasizes
the two sides of the wall.
*This similar use of form also appears in Line 9
to emphasize the metaphorical barrier.
Lines 27 through 34: Why does Frost use the
word “offense” in Line 34. Compare the
significance of the word “offense” in relation to
“a fence.”
*The narrator takes “offense” in “a fence,” but his
play on words is lost on his literal-minded
*These lines emphasize how even the level of
conversation between the speaker and neighbor
is off kilter, the speaker using figurative language
and the neighbor using literal meaning.
Line 43: What is the meaning of this line?
How is this line symbolic or metaphoric?
*The “father’s saying” becomes a figurative wall
between the neighbor and the speaker.
*Out of unquestioned tradition, the neighbor will
continue to mend the wall each spring and
believe his father’s saying without questioning it
as the speaker does throughout the poem.
What saying does the neighbor repeat?
What does this saying mean?
• “Good fences make good neighbors.”
• Walls define the boundaries and leave less
possibility for conflict.
“Mending Wall” Chart Help