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The Death of a Hired Man by Robert Frost

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The funny thing is, Silas makes his return in winters when there is hardly any need for a helping hand.The poem is a fantastic example of what Cicero said about a man taking on multiple roles, In the master, there is a servant, in the servant, a master. If the master is deserted in a way where his servants run away leaving work unfinished and scrambled, the master will start working like a servant – circumstances decide who is the servant or the master.More so, even a master is responsible for work and answerable to another master. Just like in a corporate hierarchy or political ladder, there is always someone above someone, hence making the master a servant. So the question is, how come Mary and Warren become servants?It is not hard to figure out, after reading the first stanza, things become quite clear as Silas is found sleeping beside the kitchen door, Silas is back after he ran away from work when someone offered him pocket money. Now he’s back and apparently changed. But Warren isn’t ready to take him back, he is furious at him for running away.So when Silas runs away, which ‘servant(s)’ maintain the household? Who makes the haystack and keep things in order? As the Latin word ‘famulus’, the origin of the English word ‘family’, meaning servant to the household, Warren and Mary both serve the household – they’re not the real masters, the household is.Being a servant doesn’t mean one is serving another master, a person that should exist in physical form. Even the most powerful man in the world can be a servant, a servant to his own principles, goals, responsibilities – even family!Silas runs away during summers when there is hardly any help around, and that is when Mary and Warren have to become servants – servants to their own needs and wants.