The Use Of Metaphors In Frost's, “After Apple Picking”, “Birches”, And “The Silken Tent”

1110 words - 4 pages

Robert Frost was a man who went through several challenging obstacles in his life. In his poems, he uses a great deal of orientational metaphor that expresses such difficult times. This poet, can also be considered a realist, he believes it’s necessary for things to break down. According to Frost, “All metaphor breaks down somewhere. That is the beauty of it. It is touch and go with the metaphor, and until you have lived with it long enough you don’t know when it is going. You don’t know how much you can get out of it and when it will cease to yield. It is a very living thing. It is as life itself”. His poems use metaphors to give main concepts spatial orientation; he gives meaning to them by showing a journey of going toward heaven and then coming back to earth. For example, in an essay written by Frost himself, he explains that in order for students to understand the true meaning of thinking, they must understand that it is merely being able to say one thing in terms of something else “… To tell them that is to set their feet on the first rung of a ladder the top of which sticks through the sky.” This quote is ideal as we look further into three poems by Frost in which orientational metaphors are used and also connect with the symbol of toward heaven and then coming back to earth. In particular, “After Apple Picking”, “Birches”, and “The Silken Tent” are writings that display a misconception of a subject; nevertheless there is in fact another meaning behind it.

As we begin to take a closer look at “After Apple Picking” it is evident that every line of this poem contains a representation of metaphor. For example, “My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree/ toward heaven still/ and there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill…” (Charters 1011). From the first line, use of metaphor is displayed but specifically orientational. Heaven, for Frost is used to represent his thoughts of passing on and this is an example of him reflecting upon his life, relating to his original belief of writing metaphors. Using the metaphors “toward heaven”, there were things in his life that were left unfulfilled “a barrel that I didn’t fill” but is willing to accept it and acknowledges that he has accomplished managing the harvest. According to Philip L. Gerber, “The first comes with an obtrusive gesture in the poem’s second line; it’s seemingly gratuitous reference to the ladder’s pointing “toward heaven still”. Without straining the issue, the word heaven elicits subconscious responses involving death and immortality.” (Charters 1160). Frost also looks back on his life wondering if he made the right choices. “…Beside it, and there might be two or three/ apples I didn’t pick upon some bough…” (Charters 1011) is a representation of that thought. In addition, this metaphor illustrates that throughout his life he wasn’t able to do everything as planned. Moreover, another example of orientational metaphor from “After Apple Picking” is going back...

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