34 pages 1 hour read

Robert Frost

After Apple-Picking

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1914

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Literary Devices


Metaphor is a comparison between two dissimilar objects or ideas that lacks the terms “like” or “as.” Frost frequently utilized metaphor in his poems. “After Apple-Picking” opens with the image of a “long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree / Toward heaven still” (Lines 1-2). The ladder may be viewed as a metaphor for the climb into the afterlife. If the ladder becomes a metaphor for the upward climb into the afterlife, the “cider-apple heap” deemed “of no worth” (Lines 35-36) is a metaphor for hell.

The “great harvest” (Line 29) desired by the speaker is not a metaphor for the apples the speaker either picked or left unpicked, but for the opportunities in life the speaker chose to pursue. The speaker acknowledges they are “overtired” (Line 28) of the harvest. The harvest becomes a metaphor for the speaker’s unrealized opportunities and desires; “overtired” is a metaphor for the exhaustion caused by worrying about the unrealized opportunities and desires throughout a lifetime.

The process of apple-picking is an extended metaphor for human existence. The speaker asserts “I am done with apple-picking now” (Line 6), meaning they have come to the end of their mortality.