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After Apple Picking Analysis

Essay by   •  August 1, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,223 Words (5 Pages)  •  4,217 Views

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An Analysis of "After Apple Picking"

"After Apple-Picking" is a short poem written by Robert Frost in 1914. Frost uses the literary devices of metaphors, diction, and symbols to create original, different and relatable tones throughout "After Picking Apples" in order to create the emotional or moral sensitivity he wanted to project to his audience for the purpose of creating a positive feeling for the readers of his poem. The tones differentiate and create a theme of his life's work and the yearning for success and meaning. This distinction helps to add to the positive connotations at the end of the poem. In Frost's mind even death could be looked at in a positive, restful and tranquil light.

The poem tells the story of an older gentleman looking back on his life with regrets for what he has not achieved. In terms of form, this poem is bizarre since it weaves in and out of all traditional structures. "Approximately twenty-five of the forty-two lines are written in standard iambic pentameter, and there are twenty end-rhymes throughout the poem." This nomadic composition allows Frost to accentuate the sense of moving between being awake and dream-like state. The repetition of the term "sleep," even after its paired rhyme "heap" has long been forgotten, also highlights the narrator's seemingly measured decline into dreaming.

Frost's metaphor's in the beginning of the poem help develop a tranquil tone. "Toward heaven still" (Frost, line 2) is a metaphor for a serene, calm tempered end for the life of the old man. This symbolism continues with the phrase "Essence of winter sleep is on the night." (7) This line will be interpreted in many different ways as it leaves to the reader as to whether the sleep that is spoken of is his impending death or simply a long slumber. The old man observes "Magnified apples appear and disappear." (18) This is a metaphor for prospects passing him by as time goes on for all of his years on Earth. Usage of all of these Metaphors not only seeks to create a dreamy tone but also helps to highlight Frost's implied theme. Diction is also used to create a tone for the story.

When Frost states "And there's a barrel that I didn't fill," (3) the author influencing the tone. The empty barrel could be viewed as a representation of the man's empty life which will be further accentuated later. Frost's impression of this old man's apple picking can be seen in two fold. The picking of the apples obviously, but also the meaning and symbolization in the act. The Apples symbolize opportunities, lost loves or anyone of life's many difficult decisions. This symbol helps to create a conceptual, moderate tone. The combining of all of these elements together give us a tone which portrays a tranquil image of this society as a whole, going about its work into the reader's psyche. This style of imagery is setup by Frost to add distinction with the post-shift tone and eventually let slip the theme. "For I have had too much of apple-picking." (27-28) this begins a change between a peaceful atmosphere and a more somber and tired overall tone carried throughout the remainder

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