The Death of the Hired Man By Robert Frost Summary
“The Death of The Hired Man” is a long poem concerning a conversation between a farmer and his wife on the issue of the unexpected return of their old servant. The name of the farmer is Warren. His wife’s name is Mary. Silas is their old servant. Silas worked on the farm of Warren for quite a long time. He grew old and inefficient. He worked sporadically and did not have any fixed wages. He was not satisfied with the salary that he got from Warren. He demanded fixed wages or a slight increase in his salary. But Warren refused to enhance his salary. So, Silas left Warren’s job and went off in search of a better job.
But after some days, one day Silas came back from his vain search for a job. Warren was out of the house at the time when Silas came back. Mary found him in a miserable condition. Silas was very ill and weak at that time. He was worn out. Perhaps, he came back to Warren’s house as his last shelter to die. Mary received him kindly and affectionately. She took great pity on the poor old fellow. Mary showed a sympathetic attitude towards the old servant. She dragged him to the house and gave him tea. When She asked him questions about his recent whereabouts, he did not say anything and only nodding off.
But Silas only said that he had come to them to ditch their meadow to save his self-respect.Then Mary was waiting for Warren to give him the news that Silas has returned. Mary met Warren at the door and told him about Silas. Hearing the news of Silas, Warren expressed his grudge against giving Silas shelter in his house. Warren was dissatisfied with Silas for various reasons. In his opinion, Silas was unable to work as he was old and weak. In fact, Warren was annoyed with Silas because Silas left Warren’s job in haying time when Warren needed him most. Then Silas had come back to Warren in winter when there was no work for him to do.
He reminded Mary that Silas had a brother who might be a more appropriate caretaker for Silas.Mary tried to persuade her husband that he should not treat him harshly. She told him not to drive him away. She told her husband to be kind to Silas.
Mary told Warren that Silas was asleep beside the stove.
She requested Warren to go inside to see Silas’s condition.
Mary’s compassionate urging eventually convinced him.
When Warren had gone to see Silas’s condition, Mary was sitting alone waiting for her husband to return after talking with Silas. When she waited, she watched a collision of the moon and clouds. A sailing cloud hit the moon and the world became dimmed. It indicated the death of Silas.
In the meantime, Warren returned to Mary in a short time informing her that “Silas has died”.
Thus Silas got released from all the humiliations by dying silently and helplessly.
In this way, the poem ended.
In the poem, Robert Frost has used symbols in a great poetic way. Warren and Mary represent two poles of attitudes, two different philosophies of life and two opposite ways to look at fellow beings or even life.
Mary represents love and sympathy, emotion and imagination, and evaluates ‘human beings’ not in terms of reason but emotion.
On the other hand, Warren is a ‘practical’ modern man who regards and respects people in terms of their work, worth, contribution, and so on. In other words, Warren represents reason, intellect, utilitarianism, practicality, and rationality. The Death of the Hired Man The Death of the Hired Man The Death of the Hired Man The Death of the Hired Man The Death of the Hired Man The Death of the Hired Man The Death of the Hired Man The Death of the
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