Robert Frost has many themes in his poetry. One of the main themes that are always repeated is nature and he always discusses how beautiful nature is or how destructive it can be. Frost, a teacher, lecturer, writer, and four time Pulitzer Prize recipient, can be recognized in his writing by the same common factor; nature. While some may or may not be a fan of his work, we can agree that his poetry and style as stated in Norton Anthology, …”the clarity, colloquial rhythms, simplicity of images, and folksy speaker,… make his poems look natural and unplanned” (Baym).
One of Frosts most well known poems is “After Apple picking”, Frost uses many symbols to enhance the meaning of the poem. The tones contrast and create a theme of life’s work and the desire for success and meaning. The apple in the poem could be symbolic of be said to be the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was basically the beginning of everything earthly and heavenly, therefore repelling death. In order to understand the poem, we must 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. In an online article, the author states “This is setup by Frost to contrast with the post-shift tone and ultimately reveal the theme” (Newman). This type of contrast shows the readers how important it truly is to make the most of ones life.
We come to an understanding for the poems reflection when Frost writes, ” I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough and held against the world of hoary grass”. This statement makes it seem as though the character saw his reflection in the “drinking trough” and noticed that the reflection was “hoary”, or gray with age. We can come to the assumption that the speaker sees more than just himself in the reflection in the drinking trough.
He is also seeing reflections of his life. “There were ten thousand fruit to touch, Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall”. It seems as though the character is seeing all the opportunities he had in his life that he didn’t take advantage of and is now reflecting on them. He is now realizing how important the “fruits” were. Then the character says, “For all that stuck the earth, No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, went surely to the cider-apple heap as of no worth”. The bruises represent the missed opportunities and the mistakes he made.
Theses bruises went “to the cider-apple heap as of no worth”, which means that although the apples were bruised, they still had there own relevance or worth in which he didn’t see until now. While many of us appreciate this poem and can relate to perhaps what we think Frosts message was, a detailed analysis of this poem compiled by many authors’ opinions, one author suggests its “theological from the start” (Timmerman). As the poem comes closer to the end, the character says, “One can see what will trouble this sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is”.
Here the character seems to be a little bit troubled, is it an everlasting sleep or is this just a regular sleep? Through the passages of the poem, we see that he is reflecting back on his life. Some experiences are clearer than others are, but some are more important now than they were at the time it happened. Its clear that Frost uses nature in this poem to give the idea that the character thinks that he is going to die. No matter who wrote this poem, the teacher, lecturer, or perhaps a man of nature, the moral of the story is delivered as usual through nature.
Baym, Nina. “Robert Frost 1874-1963.” Norton . WW Norton & Company. New York : 2008. Print. Newman, Seph. “Arts & Humanities, Literature.” Helium, 2001. Web. 13 Feb 2011. . Timmerman, John. The Ethics of Ambiguity. Cranbury, NJ: Rosemont Publishing, 2002. 177. Print.