Why was Warren unwilling to hire Silas anymore?

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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.


Why was Warren unwilling to hire Silas anymore?

In Robert Frost’s (1874-1963) ‘The Death of The Hired Man’ (1914), Warren (the farm owner and Mary’s husband) is unwilling to hire Silas as the farm worker. Silas’s lack of commitment and dedication to the farmhouse is responsible for that. This decision of Warren can be summarized in the following three key points.

Past Unreliability and Inconsistency: Warren reflects on Silas’s history of inconsistency as a hired man. It leads him not to hire Silas again. He states,

Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.

Warren says that Silas’s departure from their association comes at a difficult moment and creates stress and trouble. This past behaviour highlights Silas’s unstable temperament and throws into question Warren’s faith in his loyalty.

Changing Priorities and Values: Warren’s decision reflects his evolving priorities and values. He recognizes the importance of practicality and the limitations of Silas’ contributions. He says,

Home is where, when you go there,
They have to take you in. I should have called it
Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.

Warren has lost his interest in Silas as Silas quarrels with him at their last meeting. Besides, Silas is old and has nothing special on which Warren can depend.

Demanding More Pay: Silas requested a small raise in his salary that was just enough to buy tobacco and avoid begging. Warren rejected it, stating that he could not afford it. Silas then stated that someone else could do it. Warren responded that he could find someone else. So, Silas left him and went in quest of a better job at a time when Warren needed him the most.

In conclusion, Warren’s refusal to recruit Silas again in “The Death of the Hired Man” can be linked to his past unreliability, lack of actual commitment to the farm, and Warren’s shifting ideals toward him. These factors influence Warren’s decision, which is represented in various lines of the poem.