A lot of the texts I studied focussed on themes such as hopes
A lot of the texts I studied focussed on themes such as hopes, places and freedom, however I chose to direct my study towards loss. In a lot of the texts, I realised that the writer conveyed loss in different ways. For example, in The Necklace, Mathilde at first thinks of the loss of the necklace in a materialistic way, but the “grindingly horrible life of the very poor” to repay for it, conveys the irony of Mme. Loisel losing her youth and beauty which she cared so much for.
For my assignment on loss, I chose the poem ‘Out, Out-‘, about a boy who loses his hand. This story made an impact on me, because of the tragedy of a young boy dying. The way in which the family ‘turned to their affairs’ – out of necessity – after the death of the boy shocked me, and made me want to write about it. Furthermore, I realised that the reason for this shock, was in part because of the sibilance of ‘Sweet-scented stuff’, which made me feel a false sense of security.
I contrasted this to another poem, Disabled. I found the way in which the man is treated by others to be compelling, and made me think about the reasons why the characters in ‘Out, Out-‘ didn’t think about the loss, when compared to in Disabled. Another reason why I was interested in writing about these texts, is how the scenarios differed – one set in a city during World War I, and the other is set in a rural area, where it was vital for everyone to pull their weight. I felt that this influenced the way in which the characters behaved.
Both Disabled and ‘Out, Out -‘ convey the theme of loss in different ways. Disabled is a poem with a protagonist who fights in World War I. He loses legs, and one forearm – however the social loss is conveyed as being as detrimental, if not more, than the physical loss. On the other hand, ‘Out, Out -‘ conveys loss in a more utilitarian way. The boy and his family are more concerned about how the injury will affect his usefulness, than the emotional loss.
Both of the poets use the title to set the tone of the poem. ‘Out, Out -‘ is a quote from Macbeth’s soliloquy, when he finds out about his wife’s suicide. The reference alludes to how Macbeth responds to the loss – he does not show much emotion, and is instead focused on the task ahead, of battling the English army. This sets a dark tone for the poem. Furthermore, it foreshadows the family’s response to the death of the boy – they “turned to their affairs” after he dies. “Disabled” clearly describes to the reader the physical condition of a character in the poem. The imagery further conveys what the man has lost in the war in the first line – “sat in a wheeled chair”. Both of these have negative connotations, and create an image of an old man in a hospital in the reader’s mind.
Robert Frost presents the loss of the child’s life in a very sudden way, by making the reader feel a false sense of security. At the beginning of the poem, the poet writes “Sweet-scented stuff”, and uses sibilance to create a secure and safe atmosphere. Furthermore, the use of iambic pentameter in lines 29-31 represent the boy’s heartbeat, and suggests to the reader that the boy will survive the accident. Therefore, when the boy does die, the reader may feel more shocked, to emphasise the sadness of an innocent a child’s death.