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.


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