How does Robert Frost succeed in creating a clear and vivid image of the unusual incident that he describes? – The description of the scene before, during and after the incident itself – The thoughts and feelings of the narrator
– Actions and attitudes of the other people in the poem
– Use of language
Robert Frost succeeds in creating a clear and vivid image of the horrific incident, before during and after the event has happened. He adds thoughts and feelings of the narrator which helps. Even though it is an abrupt opening “the buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard” the words “buzz” “snarled” and “rattled” are all onomatopoeic words which gives them all an animal sound about them, for example a bee a lion and a snake. All of these are triplets of dangerous animals which sets the scene as dangerous before the accident, the author also uses personification to illustrate an animalistic and dangerous image almost becoming life like which is illustrated to the reader as if the saw was a snake, this foreshadows the awful that is about to happen. “Stove length sticks of wood, scene-scented” the sibilance gives the effect of the scene being soft and smooth and calming which counteracts the very first sentence. Frost uses imagery to describe the setting of the work place where the boy is cutting down wood in Vermont.
He talks about the mountains visible in the distance under the sunset being able to smell the “sweet scented…breeze” coming from the wooden dust; sibilance is used to soften the tone creating a calm and relaxed environment. However this is then destroyed by the young boy and the accident. While the boy is outside working his sister calls him for “supper”. “At the word, the saw, as if to prove saws knew what supper meant, leaped out at the boys hand, or seemed to leap” again the writer is personifying the saw so that it seems almost like an animal at the zoo waiting for feeding time, or so that it doesn’t murder anymore trees. Caesura is also used, “neither refused the meeting, but the hand!” this gives a feeling of abruptness and sudden realisation to what has just happened to the boy. It makes the reader feel as if they can see it in their minds eye. It is if a death is waiting to happen.
“The boys first outcry was a rueful laugh” this shows how shocked he and everyone else were. “As he swung toward them holding up the hand, half in appeal, but half as if to keep the life from spilling” this indicates that losing his arm would be like losing everything because it such a needed thing in this time, to be able to half both hands to work. Also “life” is a metaphor for the blood that would be pouring out of him, this reinforces the fact his life is slipping away and his time is near. “a big boy doing a mans work, though a child at heart” this gives the effect that his whole life has flashed before him and his life may be over, reality has hit home. Finally by the time the doctor arrived it was too late to save his hand and he was put in the “dark”, he was put to sleep, this could signify death and how it was dark and cold by the family how they just “turned to their affairs” they went back to work and everyday business straight away without mourning. The pulse rate was watched as it went down, “little-less-nothing” this mirrors the pulse rate in his very last moments.