“Out, Out” by Robert Frost

The poem “Out, Out -” written by Robert Frost should be regarded in terms of deconstruction theory since only deconstructionist can reveal the essence of the poem. Admittedly, the major theme of the poem is that people should always move on instead of crying over spilled milk. Nevertheless, this theme is overturned by the entire poem. More so, almost every line contradicts the theme (people should move on) which some can regard as the major theme of the poem.

It is necessary to point out that the theme about the spilled milk emerges in the very end of the poem. The final lines make the reader come to that conclusion: “And they, since they / Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs” (Frost 33-34). Thus, the reader perceives these lines as a kind of poem’s idea that it is necessary to move on no matter what.

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Nevertheless, after a closer look it becomes clear that the author wanted to emphasize the beauty of life. More so, Frost condemns people who can easily forget their sorrow and just follow the horrible formula: people should move on.

Admittedly, Frost depicts an idyll in the beginning of the poem. First, it is important to point out that he reveals the beauty and peacefulness of the view: “Five mountain ranges one behind the other / Under the sunset far into Vermont” (Frost 5-6). The author also portrays how peacefully boys are sawing. It is possible to imagine that happy family where boys help their father and a girl helps her mother and comes to say that the supper is on the table.

The following parts of the poem create a very tense atmosphere, the atmosphere of some anticipation. The idyll is ruined and a horrible thing happens. The boy who suffers much dies. The author reveals the scene of boy’s death in a very emotional way. The boy does not want to die, but tries to “keep / The life from spilling” (Frost 21-22). The boy wants to live and be as happy as he used to be. Nevertheless, the boy dies abruptly: “No one believed” (Frost 31).

It is after this scene when the lines about people who move on come into place. After the description of that sudden and horrible death of a boy who wants to live so much the author states that people just “turned to their affairs”.

This is the most explicit evidence of author’s position as for people’s moving on. The author cannot possibly understand how people could just turn around and keep moving. The cruelty of people is emphasized, rather than the necessity to live on. Apparently, the author claims that it is but natural to cry over spilt milk and it is important to always keep one’s sorrow in one’s heart.

More so, the author explicitly states that he wished nothing happened: “Call it a day, I wish they might have said” (Frost 10). Basically, Frost himself is crying over spilt milk since he knows what is going to happen but he is still lamenting. He is not simply telling the story, he is mourning or even wails (the poem is very emotional, especially the scene of the boy’s death).

Thus, it is possible to claim that the most common opinion, that the major theme of the poem is the call to move on, is not correct. Frost wanted to stress that the saying about crying over spilt milk is cruel and wrongful. Every line of the poem underlines this idea.


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