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Nature Poetry - After Apple Picking

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Introduction

After Apple Picking By Robert Frost I am going to examine the poem, After Apple Picking, by the American poet, Robert Frost. He lived for a while in Britain but spent most of his life living in New England. This is where most of his inspiration for writing came from. His writing style reveals the compact idiom of that region. New England was to Frost, what the Lake District was to Wordsworth; his inspiration. He worked as a farm labourer which granted him the opportunity to get closer to nature. Some sources say that he rivals Wallace Stevens as the greatest American poet of the 20th Century. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times! He was asked to read at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, due to his outstanding talent for writing. Frost found it easy to fill his poems with depth and emotion as he led such a tragic life. His wife and several of his children had died. As a result of this, Frost was believed to have contemplated suicide which is an underlying theme in Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. Frosts poetry was seen as 'revolutionary' because most poetry at this time period was 'romantic' in style. His poems were classical, realist and controversial. ...read more.

Middle

Toward heaven still. The narrator is standing on his ladder looking up towards heaven but he cannot gain access as he is stuck between reality and what is a dream. He longs for death but 'heaven' is 'blocked' by life's responsibilities. 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. The narrator has done all he could but due to minor human imperfections he could not carry on due to how fatigued he feels. This symbolises the many disregarded opportunities and chances he may have had throughout his life. There is a sense of incompleteness but, paradoxically, of satisfaction. This is unlike Seamus Heaney's Blackberry Picking where every berry was picked, even the unripe ones, due to greed. But I am done with apple picking now. The harvest of any human effort is mirrored by the harvest of apples. The line shows that the narrator has a sense of decisiveness and knows when to quit honourably. There are subtle hints at negligence towards perfection. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, In this line there is an implicit hint of hibernation in the metaphor which is revisited in the concluding lines. There is an abundance of hints regarding winter throughout the poem which is ironic as winter, in the metaphorical language of seasons, means death. ...read more.

Conclusion

The word 'sleep' is referred to six times in the poem and four of them are in the last five lines. The repetition is like a sleepy mantra which again emphasises how tired and fatigued the narrator is, bringing the poem to a conclusion. After Apple Picking portrays a reflection upon life itself after everything is said and done. The apples symbolise the decisions a person makes in life, both good and bad, and the poem's narrator become conscious of the fact that he has shaped his own fate with the choices he had made. This theme and Frost's use of literary devices make the poem both outstanding and simple to relate to. The apples represent the narrator's experiences in life; good and bad. I think that this poem is timeless as anybody can relate to what he is feeling, even though it was written in 1914. Frost uses different elements and themes in this poem to create two tones which clash. The contrast throughout the poem helps the reader to realise how important it is that they make the most of life while they still can. Out of the two poems, Blackberry Picking and After Apple Picking, I prefer Blackberry Picking. This is because I can understand and interpret this poem more easily. I think the way the poem portrays mans greed is very unique and powerful. ...read more.

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