In the poems ‘Disabled’ and ‘Out, Out –’ the poets have portrayed a very specific theme of loss as in ‘Disabled’ the life of the soldier is made to be almost pointless due to his injuries and suffering, so it is suggested that he has lost his life that he had from before going to war, this is portrayed by the contrast the poet uses, comparing what his life was like before and then after the war. In ‘Out, Out –’ the theme of loss is suggested due to the boy bleeding to death at the cause of the buzz saw which is metaphorically described to have animalistic qualities.
In ‘Out, Out –’ the theme of loss is portrayed by the dark and deadly language right from the start of the poem. In the first line, Frost says that “The buzz saw snarled and rattled”, which is personifying the saw to be a deadly animal like a wolf(“snarled”) or like a snake (“rattled”). This personification of the saw immediately makes it seeming daunting and dangerous whilst making the reader worried about why the saw is in this deadly state as it is metaphorically choosing its next victim. This dark theme is similar to the start of ‘Disabled’ as Owen says that this guy is, “waiting for dark…
ghastly suit of grey”. The theme of loss is portrayed here firstly by the phrase “waiting for dark” as this could metaphorically imply that the man is waiting for death to arrive as he could be thinking that there is no point in him living with all of his injuries. This already creates a negative and dark semantic field because of the “dark” and the “grey” colours, which causes the reader to feel sorry for the man as he is trapped in his dark and dismal world where he has no worth.
The alliteration of the ‘g’ is also effective in the phrase “ghastly suit of grey” as when the poem is read aloud the reader can hear the harsh sound produced by the ‘g’s which could help imply the fact that the world the man lives in is harsh and unforgiving even though he has served his country by putting his own life on the line. The theme of loss is suggested in the poem ‘Disabled’ due to the contrast portrayed by the life that he used to live and the life he lives now. “About this time Town used to swing so gay…
before he threw his legs away” is one of the many phrases used to imply that his life was better before he metaphorically “threw his legs away” by going to war. This allows the reader to understand what people like Owen did when they signed up to fight in the war; they effectively signed up to get injured to the extent of losing their lives. The contrast between the “gay” town and then the extreme loss of legs emphasises to the reader that there is unlikely to be any other way in which someone can foolishly get injured. The reference to the “Town” also shows how much better his life was before he went to war because it is quite a colloquial term and as Owen has used a capital letter to start the word makes the place seem very welcoming and homely. As this mention of the town comes near the start of the poem, when the man is looking back at his previous life and is then not mentioned again throughout the whole poem, again influences to the reader that his life has completely changed as his local town no longer seems as homely as it once did. In ‘Out, Out –’ the theme of loss is also portrayed by the contrast in the poem between the deadly saw and the calm environment surrounding it.
During some of the first few lines of the poem, “Under the sunset far into Vermont. And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled”, the poet uses repetition to emphasise the danger of the saw and causes the reader to feel even more worried and tense about what is going to happen later on in the poem. Furthermore, the poet juxtaposes the “sunset”, which is a beautiful and warming sight, to the dangerous, snarling and rattling buzz saw. This juxtaposition allows to reader to see the huge contrast between the stunning surroundings and the deadly saw causing them to fell even more tense as the poem progresses.
This is how the theme of loss is portrayed by the contrast of the buzz saw and the surroundings in the poem ‘Out, Out –’.