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“A miserable sight and frightening too. You needn’t smile, I didn’t recognise him- I wasn’t looking for him–and he’s changed. Wait till you see”. Explain

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The Death of the Hired Man is a notable literary work by Robert Frost. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of The Death of the Hired Man.

Answer

“A miserable sight and frightening too. You needn’t smile, I didn’t recognise him-
I wasn’t looking for him–and he’s changed. Wait till you see”. Explain

The quoted lines are from Robert Frost‘s (1874-1963) poem “The Death of the Hired Man.” In these lines, the speaker describes the appearance of a man who has returned to the farm. The speaker refers to this man as “a miserable sight and frightening too,”. It indicates that the man’s appearance is unsettling and distressing. The speaker also mentions that they didn’t recognize him initially and weren’t even looking for him. This lack of recognition and indifference suggests a sense of alienation or detachment between the speaker and the returning man.

The phrase “he’s changed” highlights the transformation that has taken place in the man’s life since he last visited the farm. This change could be physical, emotional, or both. It indicates that the man’s experiences outside the farm have profoundly influenced him. Altering his behaviour and perhaps even his outlook on life. The speaker’s declaration that the listener should “wait till you see” suggests that the full capacity of this change will become evident when they encounter the man.

These lines reflect themes prevailing in Frost’s poetry, such as the passage of time, the impact of life’s experiences on individuals, and the complexities of human relationships. The speaker’s initial reaction to seeing the man as a “miserable sight” may be rooted in their mixed feelings about his return or regret for not recognizing him sooner. It also highlights the obscurity and complexity of the human condition, as people change over time and are shaped by their experiences. This makes it challenging to understand or relate to them fully.

To conclude, these lines from “The Death of the Hired Man” capture the theme of change and its nuanced emotions, illustrating how the return of a familiar face can be unsettling and thought-provoking for those left behind.