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After Apple Picking, By Robert Frost

1413 words - 6 pages

This paper is about “After Apple Picking,” by Robert Frost, from the perspectives of Carl Phillips and Priscilla Paton. I would like to focus more on Carl Phillips discussion of “After Apple Picking” as his article has more focus on an actual argument on what “After Apple Picking” is about compared to Paton’s article which is more about how Frost went about writing his poems though his usage of metaphors and vague colloquialisms . Neither article was solely about “After Apple Picking,” but both had a few good observations and comments about the poem. Phillips main observation, and argument, was that “After Apple Picking” was about restlessness and ambition. “It’s a poem of restlessness, the restlessness of an ambition that spurs us towards greater achievement.” (Phillips 134).
Restlessness is the main focus of Phillips’ article, it is the title of his article and in his opinion it is the reason why poems exist at all. “Poetry is the results of a generative restlessness of imagination… uncertainties become obsessions to be wrestled with, and with luck, the result is poetry…” (Phillips 132) Phillips, in summary of his article, claims uncertainties in life trouble our minds until the uncertainties become obsessions. We become restless in our quest to understand the uncertainties we face and by writing poems we can organize our thoughts and try to understand the things we do not. Phillips furthers his explains his claim by admitting “ I write poetry for the same reason that I read it, both as a way of being alive and as a way of trying to understand what it means—how it feels—to be alive.” (Phillips 133).

Phillips continues his discussion about restlessness by saying restlessness is linked to ambition. “Unsatisfied with the given—the usual explanations, the usual goals for and trappings of a life—there are those who push past the given to get to something presumably superior…” (Phillips 133). There will always be people who are unsatisfied with the usual explanations given to them, so they search for the true meaning of what is on their mind. This quest for knowledge, or ambition for knowledge, consumes us. Phillips ends his discussion about ambition and restlessness by summarizing that people are curious, and sometimes regret learning what they know.
Phillips’ discussion about restlessness and ambition ties into his critique of Frost’s “After Apple Picking.” Phillips explains, “It’s a poem of restlessness, the restlessness of an ambition that spurs us toward greater achievement” (Phillips 134). In “After Apple Picking,” Phillips notes the apple picker can never find ultimate satisfaction because there will always be a few apples being unpicked, or a barrel that is not filled. Earlier in the poem, the apple picker confesses, “I am overtired of the great harvest I myself desired” (Frost). Phillips suggests this is occurs “presumably because of the unexpected responsibilities that the ‘great harvest’ brings with it; how to keep up with ‘ten thousand...

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