Intro to me/"After Apple Picking" Analysis

Published by PoemNerd212 in the blog PoemNerd212's blog. Views: 95

I thought this might be a good place to practice what I'm good at and analyze a poem. After Apple Picking is a poem written in 1914 by Robert Frost. You can read the poem here:

I find it somewhat hard to describe what this poem is about in a simple way. I think that overall, the poem is about how the narrator is done pursuing fulfillment in his life as his life comes to an end. I think this is best understood within the first six lines of the poem, especially with the statement "But I am done with apple-picking now." After these first few lines, Frost also uses imagery and symbolism to show the reader how the narrator has been noticing little things in his life that signify his approaching death, including how his perception of his life has changed. With this change in perception, he realizes that he is tired of pursuing "the great harvest [he] desired." He also now understands just how many things in life he could have had or done and how they were to be valued. The poem ends with the narrator contemplating on how the apples "That struck the earth" would be the regrets he would take to the grave and how he still knows little of what death will be like as he nears it. The title, After Apple Picking, basically means "After Life".

Frost uses a lot of imagery related to symbolism throughout the poem. The apples represent the moments, achievements, dreams, and physical objects that the narrator has pursued throughout his life with the goal that having them will make is life feel lived to the fullest extent. The empty barrel represents his desire to acquire and achieve, and his continuous lack of fulfillment which forces him to continue apple-picking. The pane of glass (ice) symbolizes some sort of change in perception, as he looks at his world through it, then lets it fall and break. I think the ice is supposed to show the narrator what was to come, as it showed the hoary grass which might have been what it would look like when winter came.

Frost's tone seems nostalgic or sentimental. It is not necessarily sad; it might be better described as contemplative of what could be considered a sad situation. It is emotional and maybe a bit depressing, though the narrator doesn't really lament over the situation as much as he simply accepts it.

I really liked this poem and its symbolism. I've noticed that Frost uses similar themes in his poems, at least it seems that way to me based on the poems by him that I've read. Winter and sleep for death, and nature in general for the setting. I also found it interesting that Frost seemed to imply that the apples that would trouble his sleep were not the apples that remained unpicked upon the tree, but the apples he dropped. Maybe he is saying something about how you can't pick every "apple," but the apples that are picked need to be cherished and are the ones that will stay with you, whether they are put in the barrel or thrown on the cider-apple heap.
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