In Robert Frost’s “After Apple-Picking” What does empty barrel signify?
If we think about this poem as a poem about the speaker’s attitudes at the end of his life, I think we can see what the barrel signifies. I believe that it signifies the things in life that the speaker would have liked to do but was unable to do.
Scholars argue that the apple harvest is a metaphor for the speaker’s life. He has finished with all the work he is going to do, he is tired and ready to die. But there is still this barrel he didn’t fill as well as those apples he didn’t pick. In other words, he still has some regrets — some things he wishes he could have done or feels like he should have done
In Robert Frost’s “After Apple-Picking” why does the narrator refer repeatedly to sleep?
This brilliantly allegorical poem presents us with a man who is exhausted after working long and hard picking apples. As he contemplates the dream he expects to have, he recalls the details of picking apples. He recalls the rungs of the ladder that he climbed to pick apples, the smell of them, and the sound of the wagons carrying their apples into the barn.
However, less pleasantly, he realises that he has had enough of apple picking and now finds the bountiful harvest that he had once wanted to be excessive. Likewise, just before he falls asleep he thinks about the fallen apples that had to be taken away to the cider mill. He feels his sleep will be troubled more by these failures than by his successes. The poem ends with the poet’s ignorance about what kind of sleep he will enter in to: it may be a form of hibernation or death.
Sleep is something that is used symbolically in other Frost poems, such as “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” to refer to death. Many critics see this poem as an allegory about the art of poetry and being a poet. The speaker has wished for a successful poetic career and has many poems that have been successes. However, now, looking back, he sees how this career has made him completely exhausted. He doesn’t want anything else to do with it. He feels his “sleep” will be dominated by the failures, the “apples” or ideas that he started but never finished, then by his successes.
Lastly, he is concerned about the state of sleep he will enter, and Frost explores different attitudes towards what lies beyond our death. Will it be a kind of hibernation, where we stay asleep for a time and wake up into a different world? Or will it be an ending rather than something that heralds a new beginning? Either way, sleep is focussed on so much because it is what the speaker desires and wants now, as he is so tired after his toil.
In “After Apple-picking” present the symbols in it. What are they and what do they represent?
This is a wonderful poem because it is a metaphor that can be interpreted on many levels. It is not only a beautiful poem about apple picking, but scholars have advanced the idea that the author could really be talking about the efforts involved in writing poetry, or the effort involved in life. There are various symbols and images that convey these ideas.
For example, the ladder is pointing toward heaven. This could be a symbol of the author’s life. He is standing on the ladder, and it is pointing towards heaven, and that is where he is going someday when his life is over, but right now he is tired (of apple picking, but maybe of life?) and is going to sleep.
The apples themselves can be symbols. In light of what I have explained above, what do you think the apples might symbolize? Life’s success? Oh how tiring it is to achieve success in life. It’s hard work picking all those apples! Or, could the apples represent the work of writing poetry? Perhaps the apples are the poems.
What are the symbols for After Apple Picking and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening?
n the poem ” After Apple Picking” by Robert Frost, the author gives great prominence to the ladder he uses to reach the apples that are growing on the very top of the apple trees in his orchard. He mentions it several times, even mentioning that he has been laboring so long on it that the rungs have dug into the soles of his feet.
For many authors, the theme of self-advancement and aspiration, or working hard to advance a career or art such as poetry, was central. In this poem Robert Frost tells how hard that labor is, how physically exhausting and even emotionally draining (he even undergoes it all again in his dreams.) In “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” however, it is the snow which is relaxing, comforting , consoling as it softens hardships, and blots out ugliness such as pain or stress.
sleep is a symbol for death, apple-picking is a symbol for life and missing out on things, woods are a symbol for mystery/unknown.
What is suggested by the speaker’s statement that he is “overtired” of the great harvest he once wanted?
What this passage suggests is that the speaker has decided to rethink what it is he values. He is no longer sure that the things he has valued and has pursued are really worth the effort he has put into chasing them.
This makes sense if you read the poem as a metaphor for the pursuit of worldly glory or wealth or success. The speaker is saying that he has been working hard, chasing these things. But at this point in his life (maybe nearing its end) he is no longer sure that this is what is important. Maybe he will want to turn to more spiritual pursuits now.
On a symbolic level, what do you think is “the great harvest” that the speaker in “After Apple-Picking” once valued
On the symbolic level, I think that the great harvest that the speaker once desired refers to worldly success in general. If you identify the speaker as Robert Frost himself, it might refer to fame and success in the world of poetry. But at any rate, I think it refers to success in this world.
At this point in his life, then, the speaker is no longer interested in gaining worldly glory or power or wealth. He is not sure it was really worth it and he is ready to start thinking about the things of the next world.
What is “rumbling”?
What literary device is the word “rumbling”?
Why does the speaker have to be careful with the apples?
If an apple is bruised, what must be done?
In this poem, the speaker is tired after a long day of picking and processing apples. Some people see this as a metaphor — they say that he has lived a long life and is now tired and ready for death.
As to your specific questions. The apples are rumbling as they get dumped down a chute into the cellar. The word “rumbling” is an onomatopoeia because it sounds like the action it represents.
It is important to be careful with the apples so that they do not get bruised. If they do get bruised, they become worth less. They can’t be sold or used for most stuff — they have to get pressed for cider.
What is the theme of the poem “After Apple Picking”?
In this very symbolic poem, Frost contemplates his life’s achievements and his hard work by using the metaphor of a hard day’s work of picking apples and a dreamy sleep afterwards:
“For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.”
The poem is densely metaphorical. Frost’s life was full of achievement which is symbolized by the hard work of apple picking. He also had a hard life in which many tragedies occurred. In the poem I believe the speaker represents Robert Frost who is contemplating his life and what it will be like when he dies. Some of the major symbols are the barrels representing his fulfilled and unfulfilled ambitions:
“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 season of winter and sleep both represent the later stages in one’s life and death. The most important symbol is, ofcourse, the apple. I believe that it represents the activities and opportunities in life. The speaker says with regret that he left some apples, meaning that many opportunities in his life have been passed up, but he also dreams of the many apples he did pick:
“And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in”.
This represents the many achievements and good times that he was fortunate enough to enjoy.
This classic poem I believe is a grim contemplation on the events of his life and his regrets and guilt he feels for the way he lived. Overall this poem is laced with many metaphors and its symbolism echoes the influences of rural life and nature in Frost’s life ultimately making it a great poem.
What is the assonance in “After Apple Picking”?
Assonance is subtle to pick out. Look at the lines containing the same or similar vowel sounds. For example, look at this line: ” And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill” The phrase “didn’t fill” has assonance in the “i” sounds.
This is an even better example: ” Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.” The phrase “didn’t pick” has similar vowel sounds, and “on some bough” has similar (though not the same) vowel sounds. These link the words one to another, and create a subtle resonance.
After Apple-Picking – Summary Line 1 to 8
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
First of all, how long “after apple-picking” is this poem set? It’s not a simple question, and you might want to re-read the whole poem a couple times before you try to answer it. Go ahead, we’ll wait. (Dum-dee-dum-dum.) Ready?
The first couple lines seem to suggest that the speaker is still picking apples, which is strange when you consider that the title says “after.”
At any rate, he has one of those old-fashioned ladders with the two points at the end that you have to lean against the tree. The top of the ladder points toward heaven, which is a strange detail for him to mention.
It immediately gives the poem religious overtones. You might think of “Jacob’s Ladder,” a Biblical story in which Jacob dreams of a ladder up to heaven that angels climb. God stands at the top of the ladder and tells Jacob that he and his descendents will be blessed.
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.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
There is a barrel next to him that hasn’t been filled yet. Clearly the speaker has been filling barrels with apples all day, and now he feels this obligation to fill that last barrel. The barrel stands next to the ladder, which is propped against a tree. He paints a little picture of what apple-picking looks like.
In addition to the empty barrel, there are ripe apples still hanging from the tree. What are you doing, man? Chop, chop! Pick those apples! Fill that last barrel!
Nope, he thinks, not gonna pick ‘em. Even though he knows he could go that extra mile and get every last apple, he has decided to stop picking for the day.
The speaker says, “I am done” with it, which means both “I’m going to stop” and “I’m getting sick of this.”
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
These lines are very important, as they might cause us to reevaluate where the poem is set. It is nighttime, and the speaker is very tired.
He compares his approaching sleep to an “essence” or smell that wafts through the winter night. Not surprisingly, this essence smells like apples.
At this point, we have two options. Either he falling asleep on his ladder in the orchard as night falls, or he is in bed, just thinking about being out in the orchard. Keep these two options in mind throughout the poem.