'After Apple Picking' by Robert Lee Frost
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My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
Editor 1 Interpretation
After Apple Picking by Robert Frost: A Deep Dive into the Poem
Robert Frost is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century. His works are marked by their simplicity, clarity, and sensitivity to the natural world. Among his many poems, "After Apple Picking" is particularly well-known for its evocative imagery and profound themes. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the poem's structure, language, symbolism, and meaning in detail.
The Structure of the Poem
At first glance, "After Apple Picking" appears to be a simple poem with a straightforward structure. It consists of 42 lines divided into two stanzas, with no discernible rhyme scheme or meter. However, a closer examination reveals a more complex structure that adds to the poem's richness and depth.
The first stanza of the poem describes the speaker's experience of picking apples. The second stanza delves deeper into the speaker's thoughts and emotions, exploring themes of mortality, regret, and the passing of time. The shift from the physical act of apple picking to the speaker's inner reflections is marked by the line "But I am done with apple-picking now." This line acts as a hinge, separating the two stanzas and signaling the poem's shift in focus.
Within each stanza, there are several images and motifs that recur throughout the poem. For example, the image of the ladder is introduced in the first line and returns several times throughout the poem, serving as a metaphor for the speaker's ascent towards death. Similarly, the apple serves as a symbol for life, vitality, and temptation, as well as decay, impermanence, and mortality.
The Language of the Poem
One of the most striking aspects of "After Apple Picking" is its rich and vivid language. Frost's use of sensory details and figurative language creates a dreamlike, surreal atmosphere that draws the reader into the speaker's internal world.
For example, in the first stanza, the speaker describes the apples as "heaping" and "mossed" and the ladder as "stumbling." These adjectives create a sense of abundance and decay, foreshadowing the speaker's later reflections on mortality and the transience of life.
Throughout the poem, Frost also employs metaphors and similes that deepen the poem's themes. For example, in the second stanza, the speaker compares his sleep to the "long sleep" of the woodchuck, suggesting that death is a natural and inevitable process that all living things must eventually undergo. Similarly, the image of the "barrel's roundness" is compared to the "world" itself, underscoring the speaker's sense of his own smallness and insignificance in the face of the vastness of time and space.
The Symbolism of the Poem
Symbolism is a key feature of "After Apple Picking." Frost uses a variety of symbols and motifs to explore the poem's themes of mortality, regret, and the passage of time.
One of the most important symbols in the poem is the apple. As mentioned earlier, the apple serves as a representation of life and vitality, as well as decay and mortality. The speaker's exhaustion and weariness after a day of apple picking suggest that even the act of living can be exhausting and draining, and that death is an inevitable part of the cycle of life.
The ladder is another important symbol in the poem. It represents the speaker's ascent towards death and the afterlife, as well as his sense of isolation and detachment from the world around him. The ladder is described as "stumbling" and "swaying" throughout the poem, suggesting that the journey towards death is fraught with uncertainty and instability.
Finally, the motif of sleep and dreaming is also significant in the poem. The speaker's reflections on his own mortality are framed within a dreamlike, surreal landscape, suggesting that death and the afterlife are mysterious and unknowable.
The Meaning of the Poem
So what is the overall meaning of "After Apple Picking"? At its core, the poem is a meditation on mortality and the fleeting nature of life. The speaker's reflections on his own weariness and exhaustion after a day of apple picking are a metaphor for the weariness and exhaustion that all human beings feel as they approach the end of their lives.
The poem suggests that death is a natural and inevitable part of the cycle of life, and that all living things must eventually undergo this process. However, the poem also suggests that there is a sense of peace and acceptance that comes with the realization of one's own mortality. The speaker's reflections on the beauty of sleep and dreaming suggest that death may not be something to be feared, but rather something to be embraced as a natural and inevitable part of the human experience.
In addition to its themes of mortality, "After Apple Picking" also explores the idea of regret and the passage of time. The speaker's reflections on the apples he has picked evoke a sense of regret for the things he has not done, and for the time that has elapsed without him fully realizing his own dreams and aspirations.
Ultimately, "After Apple Picking" is a deeply profound and moving poem that speaks to the universal human experience of mortality and the passage of time. Through its rich language, vivid imagery, and powerful symbolism, the poem offers a meditation on the nature of life, death, and the mysteries that lie beyond.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry After Apple Picking: A Masterpiece of Robert Frost
Robert Lee Frost, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, is known for his unique style of writing that often reflects the beauty and complexity of nature. His poem "After Apple Picking" is a classic example of his mastery of language and imagery. This poem is a reflection on the end of a long day of apple picking, and the speaker's thoughts and feelings as he drifts off to sleep. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, symbols, and literary devices.
The poem begins with the speaker describing his experience of apple picking. He talks about how he has been picking apples all day, and how he is now tired and ready to rest. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, with its simple and straightforward language. The speaker talks about how he has "had too much of apple-picking," and how he is "overtired" from the work. This sets up the central theme of the poem, which is the idea of exhaustion and weariness.
The second stanza of the poem is where the imagery and symbolism really begin to take hold. The speaker talks about how he sees "essence of winter sleep" in the apples that he has picked. This is a powerful image, as it suggests that the apples are somehow connected to the idea of hibernation and rest. The speaker also talks about how he sees "magnified apples" in his sleep, which suggests that the apples have taken on a larger, more significant meaning in his mind.
The third stanza of the poem is where the speaker's thoughts and feelings become more complex. He talks about how he has had "ten thousand thousand fruit to touch," and how he has "swiped" at them with his hand. This suggests that the speaker is feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of apples that he has picked, and that he is struggling to make sense of them all. The speaker also talks about how he has "linger[ed] in the orchard" long after the other workers have gone home. This suggests that the speaker is feeling a sense of isolation and loneliness, as he is the only one left in the orchard.
The fourth stanza of the poem is where the speaker's thoughts and feelings become even more complex. He talks about how he has had "too much of the elixir of the summer," and how he is now "sick of it." This suggests that the speaker is feeling a sense of disillusionment with the idea of summer and its pleasures. The speaker also talks about how he has "kept awake all night" thinking about the apples, which suggests that he is struggling to come to terms with his feelings about the orchard and his work.
The fifth and final stanza of the poem is where the speaker's thoughts and feelings come to a head. He talks about how he is now "done with apple-picking," and how he is "longing to be done with it." This suggests that the speaker is feeling a sense of finality and closure, as he is ready to move on from his work in the orchard. The speaker also talks about how he is "weary of considerations," which suggests that he is tired of thinking about the apples and their significance.
Throughout the poem, Frost uses a variety of literary devices to convey his themes and ideas. One of the most prominent devices is imagery, which is used to create vivid and powerful pictures in the reader's mind. For example, the image of the "essence of winter sleep" in the apples is a powerful and evocative image that suggests a deep connection between the apples and the idea of rest and hibernation.
Another literary device that Frost uses in the poem is symbolism. The apples themselves are a powerful symbol, representing both the beauty and the complexity of nature. The apples are also a symbol of the speaker's work in the orchard, and his struggle to come to terms with his feelings about that work.
In conclusion, "After Apple Picking" is a masterpiece of Robert Frost's poetry, and a powerful reflection on the themes of exhaustion, isolation, and disillusionment. Through his use of imagery, symbolism, and other literary devices, Frost creates a vivid and powerful picture of the speaker's experience in the orchard. This poem is a testament to Frost's mastery of language and his ability to capture the beauty and complexity of nature in his writing.
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