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Analysis of After Apple-Picking Essay


Robert Frost was a man that was close to emotional collapse, deeply depressed, and suicidal. This could be why at the age of forty he wrote After Apple-Picking. This depicts an old man who is contemplating his life with all its failures and disappointments. By using metaphors and symbols from his own half-imagined country life, Frost portrays his sentiments at his own death.

On line 7, Frost states the Essence of winter sleep is on the night relating that death is coming to call on the man (Frost 965, 7). He cannot rub the strangeness from his sight/ he got from looking threw the pane of glass/ skimmed this morning from the drinking trough (966, 10-12). Suggesting that he can see his past failures and disappointments threw this ice, as if it was a dream. The man can see Magnified apples appear and disappear (18) signifying the many opportunities that he has had and passed on over the years. In addition, it can be suggested that even if things were going well they eventually went downhill after some time No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble/ went surely to the cider-apple heap/ as of no worth (34-36). The added pressure of trying to prevail in something becomes illustrated, my instep arch not only keeps the ache, it keeps the pressure of a ladder-round (21-22). He looks and realizes this pressure is still evident even in his death And theres a barrel that I didnt fill/Beside it, there may two or three/ apples I didnt pick on the bough, (3-5). This could also signify the things he has to finish or accomplish yet in his life. However, he states But I am done with apple picking now (6) and I am overtired/ of the great harvest I myself desired (28-29). This could epitomize the acceptance of his upcoming death and his chance to bow out peacefully.

The main symbols of this story are the apple-picker, the man, which is a man doing his lifes work. The apples are the work itself. They may stand for the successes, the failures, or even things that the man will not achieve during his lifes work. The cider-apple heap distinguishes the success and failures of his life. The time of the year denotes the mans life. Each season designates a time for the growing of a person, spring is the birth, summer is growing, fall is maturing, and death in the winter.

Frost uses sleep and death motives and the setting to characterize the speaker as an old man who is ready and willing to die. The man has endured through the success and failures of life. He is too tired to continue striving for the great harvest, the pressure is becoming too much. Even though there are still many thing to accomplish the old man is content with the failures and success that he already has.

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