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After Apple Picking

Author: Frost, Robert

Genre: Poetry

Year: 1915


After Apple Picking - Robert Frost


A wistful lyric "After Apple Picking" by Robert Frost uses many symbols to enhance the meaning of the poem. The apple in the poem could be symbolic of  the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was basically the beginning of everything earthly and heavenly, therefore repelling death. The first image – that of dark, firm trees that appear as a ‘mask of gloom’ and the image of the slow wheel pouring out sand set the mood of the poem – gloomy, dark and monotonous. For you to understand the poem, you have to realize that for something to be dead, it must have been alive before. This may not be the central theme of the poem but Frost's symbolic use of the apple makes this concept as important. This poem is about life but its focuses are what are in between, the missed life experiences and the regret that the speaker is left with.

The poet is in a state of regret and reflection. It is this world that he wishes to ‘steal’ away from (die) and never ‘turn back’ – have no regrets. Because it is a dull and monotonous life. And he has no fear of the life at the edge of doom. But he ends the poem with a positive note - his confidence in his own beliefs, his love. Even in the world yonder he would neither lose his love for those he holds dear nor change his beliefs. While writing this, both ‘love’ and ‘beliefs’ may have carried somewhat the same meaning for Frost. He seems to be challenging those who love him to test his love for them. They might follow him or overtake – that is, die after or before him - but in the next world too they can be sure of his love.

Frosts laconic language and emphasis on individualism in his poetry reflect is stay in New England. He was able takes an ordinary experience and transforms it into a meditative moment, a philosophical musing. Apple-picking slides gradually away from merely harvesting fruit to considering how life has been experienced fully but with some regrets and mistakes. The question about what kind of sleep to anticipate suggests untroubled oblivion or possibly some kind of new life just as the woodchuck reawakens to fresh life in the spring after his hibernation.

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