Out, out and Disabled

Categories: Tragedy

Explore how the writers use language and structure to create sympathy in any two texts from Section B of the Anthology.

Out, out (text one) and Disabled (text two)

In the two poems 'Out, out' written by Robert Frost and 'Disabled' by Wilfred Owen a similar theme of sympathy is portrayed by the dangers of war and coldness of child labour. However, they are both portrayed from very different perspectives. For example, Out, out is portrayed from a young boy's view and the writer in Disabled is portrayed as an old man who has been reflecting on his regrets in his life even though he still a teenager.

However, both writers use a third person speaker to allow us to comprehend the poem more easily. The writers use the specific structure of an ode poem to present sympathy. Also, the laments of the poor lives the characters have lived creates a sense of sympathy for the reader.

In the poems, the loss of ability gives the reader a reason to feel sympathy for the character in each poem.

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They both present how in real life situations the people are tragically torn from their youth because of their own or others' egotistical actions.

An example of this would be in text 2, Owen presents this by showing us the switch between the past and present. In the past, he is telling us the character's wrong choices; he says, 'In the old times, before he threw away his knees' this shows us he has made mistakes and he is now blaming himself for it.

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He also uses the phrase 'In the old times' and this ironic because this implies he is an old man when he is only just a young teenager who has now lost all in life.

In the present, he tells us how he regrets these mistakes and Owen says the character must 'take whatever pity they may dole'. The writer uses this to create sympathy because of the tragic irony the character faces as he made this choice and must now live with the consequences of his bad decision.

We sympathize for the characters for different reasons. An example of which would be for 'Disabled', the loss of the soldier's legs and the dramatic transition of his life before and after presents to the reader a sense of sadness. Owen opens the poem with a stanza with connotations of death. He says, 'waiting for dark' and the word 'dark' presents a metaphor for death which shows how miserable the character's life must be.

On the other hand, sorrow is reinforced by Frost by using the despair that the boy must live by and the fact that he has lived a harsh life at such a young age. This can be proven when Frost says, 'the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled'. Frost uses a sibilance of the letter 's' which suggests a snake sound and danger. Frost also uses references to the garden of Eden as he does this by describing the setting as calming and Edenic. He says, 'sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it' and 'Under the sunset far from Vermont'. This implies the beautiful scenery similar to the garden of Eden and that the saw is the snake in the story and the young boy is Adam (innocent and vulnerable).

Also, he puts emphasis on the 'snarled and rattled' and he has done this with the use of repetition throughout the poem when describing how the saw sounded. This creates a sense of sympathy in the reader's mind because of the suffering the people went through at such young ages and how they were so blind not to realise the dangers of what would happen to them.

Through the writers' clever use of imagery and sensuous language within their descriptions of the horrible incidents, they create an image in the reader's mind. This makes the reader feel pity for the person in that story. An example of this would be in Disabled because the character's loss of limbs represents rejection from society as Owen uses the metaphor 'queer disease' to describe the teenager's disabilities. The word 'disease' implies Owen wanted to present his disability as a weakness rather than something he can overcome.

Owen tried to present the moral of the story here because being a narcissist and being very obsessed with oneself can lead to very bad consequences. This is proven as one of the reasons he had joined war is because 'someone had said he'd look a god in kilts' and 'to please his Meg'. This shows to us he was ignorant in making this decision because he didn't know the dangers. The writer uses this this to present sympathy because his life has been taken from him so effortlessly, and he became into a fragile person from a reckless and naive young boy so easily.

Owen also uses the motif of old age and colour during the poem and this presents the tragic irony that he has already become old before his time. Owen says, 'ghastly suit of grey' and 'half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race' this implies he was tragically torn from his youth in war because of his vulnerability. The dark colours symbolise old age and how now his youth is taken from him and his life had been destroyed over vanity and immaturity.

Contrastingly, Frost describes the boy as a 'big boy doing a man's work, though a child at heart'. This tells the reader he is mature unlike the character in 'Disabled'; this is tragically ironic because the small boy was forced into child labour and the other boy made his childish decisions himself. This gives the reader sympathy because it tells us how innocent the characters are and they had no control.

In 'Out, out', Frost shows us that the innocence of the small boy leads to his unfortunate death by the over-powering saw. This is shown to us because Frost uses the idea that the young boy's freedom is denied by the oppression of child labour which he unfortunately does not escape. The writer used the word 'leaped' to describe how the saw came at the boy and suggests the saw had animal-like features. This implies the danger of the saw which creates sympathy because the innocent boy is unaware to what will happen to him and just how sudden his death would be.

Similarly, in 'Disabled', Owen presents to us (through the use of childhood ignorance) that we are very vulnerable and innocent. He says, 'when he'd drunk a peg' this implies that the character had based a lifetime decision when he was drunk at a young age. He also said war would be 'drums and cheers' this tells us he has a completely different idea of war and doesn't know what he's getting himself into.

This is also similar to Out, out because the young boy was tragically caught unaware at the moment the saw struck him and no one was there to warn him of the dangers of the saw. Owen and Frost use these ideas to create a sense of sympathy because it shows how naive and vulnerable the two boys were in these situations.

Frost and Owen create the loss of innocence in the characters through their tragic experiences that include death and severe incapability. An example of this would be at the end of 'Disabled' because Owen implies that the boy has realised his mistakes. 'He noticed how the women's eyes passed from him to the strong men that were whole' this represents how he has been isolated and lost his innocence because he finally realised the mistake he made. Owen also made it clear to the reader that 'no fears of fear came yet' when the boy enrolled for war and this tells us that he was vain.

There is also a sense of loss of innocence in 'Out, out' and this is when the boy 'saw all spoiled' which suggests that he realised his life was ruined. Frost also describes the boy's reaction to the saw in an unusual way; he says, 'the boys first outcry was a rueful laugh' the words 'laugh' and 'rueful' contradict each other and the contrasting words suggests the boy doesn't know what to do in this situation. This creates sympathy for the reader because of the sudden tragic realisations the characters face and how they can't do anything in these situations.

Also, both writers make it very clear that there is a loss of hope for future in both characters. For example, Frost writes that the boy 'saw all spoiled'. This creates the image in the reader's mind that his future is gone and this creates a tragic theme throughout the poem. In lines 22 to 24, Frost creates a sense of sympathy by using repetition of the word 'boy' to put emphasis on the fact that it is only a young boy's life who is at risk.

Likewise, in Disabled, it says he will 'spend a few sick years in institutes'. This is another example of how the writer created a sense of sympathy because the word 'institutes' implies that he will live a harsh future and will be isolated and not be loved. He also tells the reader that the character must 'take whatever pity they may dole' which suggests that now his life has been destroyed over vanity and not just his physical state is destroyed, but also his mental state. Owen uses this to create sympathy through the use of the character's poor well-being and how he has brought this upon himself because of selfish actions he earlier made.

Both writers use a different structure in their poems to reinforce ideas and a different meaning overall. This is shown to us in Disabled because the stanzas are of all different tenses and lengths; they are randomly organised and muddled up. This reflects on the character's life choices and this creates a sense of sympathy because it reinforces the fact that the character is severely physically and metaphorically disabled.

Contrastingly, Frost uses an organised and long description at the start to show the boy's happy and innocent life. Near the end of the poem, it comes to a quick end and this symbolises how the young boy's life comes to a short and sudden death. For example, Frost says 'No one believed. They listened at his heart. Little-less-nothing!' the writer uses a dramatic use of caesura to emphasise the fact that the little boy's life had ended. He does this in a discreet way as the reader may not get grasp as to what has happened straight away. This differs to the long life of suffering the man in Disabled must now live with. This causes sympathy because everything had happened so fast and so suddenly.


Throughout section two of the anthology, there is an ongoing theme of isolation in each of the poems and I was interested to explore this theme and write about it using the two texts 'Out, out' and 'Disabled'. Frost and Owen use a sense of tragedy and loss in their technique and structure to create a sense of sympathy overall in these poems. They do this by choosing a character that is vulnerable and young and this creates a more powerful perspective as the reader would sympathize more towards them.

In section two of the anthology, the writers explore themes of oppression. For example, in 'Still I Rise' Angelou explains how she suffered from racial oppression which makes the reader sympathetic towards her. She says, 'out of the huts of history's shame'. This implies that she has broken out of the disgrace of slavery and has now risen above it. Similarly, in 'The story of an hour' the narrator explains how she wishes to escape the oppression of the patriarchal society and tries to be free but she couldn't escape.

Due to this specific genre of suffering and pain, I was able to choose from a wide choice of texts. The two texts that stood out the most were 'Out, out' by Robert Frost and 'Disabled' written by Wilfred Owen. These two particular texts each present the tragedies of war and how the oppression of child labour can so easily change one's life.


Cite this page

Out, out and Disabled. (2019, Dec 01). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/out-out-and-disabled-essay

Out, out and Disabled
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