In both Wilfred Owen’s “Disabled” and Robert Frost’s “Out, Out” the theme of loss is carried throughout. While the boy in Frost’s poem completely loses his life, Owen’s young man loses his former way of life and is just waiting for death. The title “Out, out” is a reference to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In the play Macbeth is told his wife is dead, he then begins to evaluate how brave and unpredictable life is. He says “Out, out brief candle!” Suggesting people can die as easily as a candle is playing now, portraying how the parent is about how fragile life is. Even the title “Disabled” displays the theme of loss and grab is the eye of the reader.
Obviously the protagonists in both poems experience physical loss and disability by accident, however in Frost’s case the injuries cause death. In Frost’s poem the boy is faced with the loss of his hand. The hand symbolises the man’s ability to take control over his own life, to be able to do things for himself. Without the hand he would not be able to work and provide for his family. After his sister has declared that the supper is finished and ready to eat the accident occurs. Frost uses personification to describe the buzz saw, “Leaped out of the boy’s hand” making the saw seem alive and as if it was intentional to cut the boys hand off. Frost uses an almost comical tone when he writes “neither refused the meeting” as though they were shaking hands. However Frost does not do this comical reasons what to show how easily we can do something so stupid which can have great consequences. “But the hand!”, here Frost uses a very simplistic language and doesn’t describe the scene as he has previously throughout the poem using imagery. This to the reader seems as if there are no words to describe how horrific the wound was, leaving the reader to use their own imagination.
The title of Owen’s poem ‘Disabled’ instantly sets the scene for the reader. After his incident, the now ex-soldier is confined to a wheelchair, by the fact he cannot wheel himself due to further injuries he perceives himself as only half a man. Owen’s uses “wheeled” to describe his chair. This shows that because he has lost both arms and legs he relies on others to wheel him around. During the war the man becomes severely injured however it is not described how but the reader does know that he loses a high amount of blood. Owen’s writes “he’s lost his colour”, here colour is symbolising energy, life and blood as if the war drained every piece of the life out of him and left him with nothing. His use of ‘lost’ makes it seem final and as if there was no possibility of him getting his life back, wasted.