Imagery in after Apple Picking


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Robert Frost’s poem, “After Apple-Picking,” has been interpreted in many unique ways. The literal interpretation of the poem tells us the story of a man wanting some relaxation after a hard day’s work of selecting apples, but he is aware of his sleep will be stricken due to the fact he has no longer completed all his work. On a figurative level, Frost uses this poem to talk about existence and death, or eternal sleep. On each a literal and figurative level, sleep is the foremost focal point due to the fact with sleep comes the escape from hard labor, and whether it be an proper sleep or death, Frost’s predominant preoccupation is on the transition from being wide awake and current in the real world and dealing with all of life’s problems, to being asleep and part of a less tangible and realistic dream-like world the place these troubles may also or may now not exist. In his poem, “After Apple-Picking,” Frost uses an extended metaphor of apple-picking and imagery of a long sleep to illustrate the hardships of lifestyles and the longing that one feels to get away these troubles through coming into a dream-like world in which they consider these troubles are nonexistent and irrelevant.

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The prolonged metaphor of apple-picking is used in the course of the poem to represent life and death. In the poem, the speaker has completed working and is reminiscing on the work that he has accomplished hence far: “…there may additionally be two or three/Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough/But I am executed with apple choosing for now” (Frost). The unpicked apples represent the matters in the speaker’s lifestyles that he has not accomplished, and the “…barrel that I didn’t fill” echoes that lack of completion (Frost). Literary critic Leah Tieger agrees, saying, “…the few apples final on the branch, the unfilled barrel- all are symptoms of a mission half-complete” (Tieger 9). Despite a job incomplete, the speaker has “…had too much/Of apple-picking” and is now “…overtired/Of the high-quality harvest I myself desired” (Frost). The apples that the speaker has picked already, or all the matters he has accomplished in his life, alongside with the ultimate apples, or the matters he nonetheless has to do, have worn him out and exhausted him, so a great deal so that all he can think about is ending that exhaustion and being “…done with apple-picking now” (Frost). While the speaker contends that apple picking is what he “desired,” it is evident that the he now wishes to stop his work, or in other words, stop residing due to the fact “the abundant harvest he wished for has exhausted him,” which suggests that dying is the only solace from the struggles of existence (Tieger 9). Frost is using the metaphor of picking apples to exhibit how the things we have to accomplish and deal with in life, whilst favored and welcomed, are tiresome and make us nearly want for death after a long time of dealing with them.

Also in his poem, “After Apple-Picking,” Frost makes use of imagery pertaining to sleep and dreaming to in addition show how humans view death and sleep as a way to escape the troubles of life. Throughout the poem, the word sleep is seen six instances and is alluded to during a majority of the lines: “the essence of winter sleep,” “this sleep of mine,” “just some human sleep” (Frost). Tieger has no answer on whether or not this sleep is literally intended as an “ordinary slumber” or whether or not it is a greater “lengthy slumber,” but contends that interpretation of the sleep being an everlasting sleep “emphasizes the interpretation of the poem as a meditation on mortality” (Tieger 10). The connotations that come with “winter” in addition guide the notion that the sleep Frost is discussing is a more permanent type of sleep, or death. Upon entering this sleep or this dream-like world however, the speaker only sees snap shots of “magnified apples” that “appear and reappear” (Frost). In different words, all the preoccupations we have whilst awake or alive are now not always long past when we enter this much less sensible dream world. The imagery pertaining to to the snoozing and dreaming of the speaker illustrates Frost’s thinking that with sleep or death comes the wish and longing to be free of the troubles of life.

While Frost in no way comes straight out and tells us he is discussing life and demise or not, it is evident that his poem “After Apple-Picking,” is in reality doing just that. In it we see a man exhausted and longing for sleep after a long, grueling day of choosing apples, however on a deeper degree we see a man exhausted by the preoccupation with all the things he had to accomplish and all the hardships he has faced in the course of his life and longing for a alleviation from that exhaustion. Through his prolonged metaphor referring to apple-picking to existence and dying and his sleep and dream related imagery, the reader is capable to see that Frost believes the get away from this fatigue lies in the escape from truth to a dream-like nation because only in this dream-like country are we capable to forget about about our problems. 

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