Values Of Nature In Frost's "After Apple Picking"

1301 words - 5 pages

Robert Frost once said "There are many other things I have found myself saying about poetry, but the chiefest of these is that it is a metaphor, saying one thing and meaning another, saying one thing in terms of another, the pleasure of ulteriority" (The Atlantic Monthly, 1946). In "After Apple Picking", Robert Frost does as he said, he uses a simple story about a man, who, after a hard day of picking apples, is tired and wishes to rest, to imply a larger idea - that our actions express our values. Combining familiar objects like nature, and everyday work in the poem makes it easy to read, but not necessarily easy to understand. Actually, Robert Frost hides a lesson about life that he wants to pass on to , the readers. The speaker's actions are apple picking, he values nature. However, the speaker starts to doubts this value of his, and it is shown in the poem by an association of the apple with The Garden of Eden, his treatment of nature, dream, and the sleep of the woodchuck. "After Apple Picking", slides from a simple story about apple picking to a story about life experiences and a person who doubts his values.The speaker's encounter with apples makes him question his values. Apples usually evoke association with the Garden of Eden and the Fall. Adam, after picking and eating an apple, was expelled from the Garden of Eden, from a heavenly place where he lived as one with nature, to a world where one must labor. The apple may have given Adam knowledge, but he had to leave The Garden of Eden. The world of labor is the place where the speaker lives, but unlike Adam who gained knowledge from the apple about life, the speaker doesn't. The speaker's ladder is pointed "toward heaven still" (2), the speaker climbs it so many times that his "instep arch not only keeps the ache" (21) but also "it keeps the pressure of a ladder-round" (22). He wants to return to the perfect world of Eden, where he can live as one with nature as Adam used to. However, he must climb down all the time and see how little he knows, how small are the values of nature he gained from his life's labor on earth.The speaker becomes alien to nature; in view of the fact that his values connect with nature, he is actually alien to his values as well. The speaker has been picking up apples all his life; it is his way of life. However, the speaker now is no longer interested in apple picking he is "overtired of the great harvest" (28-29) he himself wanted. This tiredness is in fact another way of saying that the speaker is in doubts of his values of nature. Before the speaker describes the form his dream is about to take, he tells us about a "pane of glass" (10) that he picks up. However, after the glass is in his hands , he finds out that it is actually ice, something that is made in nature, and he "let(s) it (full) and break" (13). The speaker significantly lets the ice fall, in contrast to the gentle care he used during the harvest, making sure the apples won't full to the floor,...

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