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Farmhand Summary & Analysis
by James K. Baxter

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"Farmhand" was written by the 20th-century New Zealand poet James K. Baxter. The poem focuses on a young farmhand standing outside a dance hall, attempting to seem cool and aloof despite an internal longing to join the party and maybe even get a girlfriend. With his "hairy hands" and "sunburnt face," however, the farmworker feels too rough and tumble to enter the world of the dance hall. At the same time, the poem presents him as an image of strength, skill, and grace when working the harvest, sorting crops, and using his tractor. The poem explores the angst and awkwardness of adolescence while also suggesting that sometimes people are "made" for certain roles in life.

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