Themes in “The Death of the Hired Man”

Themes are important in poetry. Poetry is a form of literature that can provide so many different emotions. Each theme will provide and portray different emotions. The theme behind “The Death of the Hired Man” is portraying talk amongst individuals discussing a man that is somewhat liked and disliked. Throughout the poem, the man’s life is discussed by those who have hired him to work. The poem is very descriptive as it focuses on the man’s life as known by the ones hiring. The two talking to each other in the poem give the reader an overview of their perception of the hired man. Robert Frost uses descriptive elements to show the class and type of those described in the poem.

The text written in the poem is very descriptive as it allows the reader to create their own description and image regarding the focus of the poem. The reader can create a personal image of the individuals talking in the poem and the description of the man. By the use of grammar and word placement, it is likely that those discussing the hired man were southern. They speak of the man as if he was somewhat mysterious. Throughout the poem, it is referenced that those discussing the man question his life. They discuss where he comes from, his family, and his travels. “His Brother’s Rich, a somebody-director in the bank” (Line 133, Frost Robert, Death of the Hired Man). The two are talking about the man as if they are reviewing the life of someone who has died. Although it is not revealed exactly until the end of the poem, it is hinted the man is dead.

The title of the poem gives the reader a focus of whom those in the poem are discussing. Since the reader is aware that the man is hired this helps to understand who they are describing. The man was likely a good worker but came and went often. When he showed up to ditch the meadow he was in rough shape. The woman tried to tend to him as she normally would but his condition was irreversible. It was obvious that the man was worn out. Reading the poem more than once helps to decide whether or not the women knew the hired man was dead. At the beginning of the poem, she stated she was loud because she wanted him to hear. As the poem goes on the two continue to talk over the man’s life as if they were sitting at his funeral. Discussing his life may have allowed the two to question whether or not he was dead or alive.

The poem is a great poem that uses the discussion of two people to explain one man. The reader is able to understand who the man was and what he was about. The reader is able to create an image and form an opinion. All of these elements make for good literature. Elements such as grammar and tone help the reader to understand the theme.

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