34 pages 1 hour read

Robert Frost

After Apple-Picking

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1914

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Symbols & Motifs


Traditionally associated with wisdom, sin, and knowledge, the apple embodies various biblical and non-stereotypical representations in Frost’s poems. Instead of stating that the speaker worries, Frost uses unpicked apples to represent the many anxieties and worries plaguing the speaker. The “[m]agnified apples” that “appear and reappear” (Line 18) can symbolize pieces of knowledge the speaker either accepted and remembers or denied. If the reader reads the poem through the lens of an elderly speaker examining their life prior to death, Line 18 may also refer to the way memory can come in bits and starts.

The apples may also represent opportunities the speaker failed to seize when they had the chance. Using a biblical interpretation of the apple, the fruit may represent sin and was the tool the serpent utilized to cause the fall of man (Lines 30-35). As symbols of sin and corruption, the apples “[t]hat struck the earth” (Line 33) represent the fall of humankind after Eve accepted the apple from the Garden of Eden. Essentially unblemished, the apples “not bruised or spiked with stubble” (Line 34) that “[w]ent surely to the cider-apple heap” (Line 35) may represent those who, despite their good intentions and goodwill, never received salvation and were condemned to hell.