AFTER APPLE PICKING

 

Q.1.   Describe the poet’s pleasant experience of apple picking.

Or     How is the world of reality and dreams mixed up in this poem?

 

Robert Frost has cherished the hope of reaping a rich harvest of apples, but he has not harvested sufficient produce as he desired. His barrel is still empty. While performing his work of picking apples, the poet’s fatigue and the scent of the ripe apples make him feel extreme drowsiness and goes into the world of dream. In drowsiness, he can not discriminate between dream and reality. He begins to dream and gets the vision of numerous magnified apples even more than ten thousand. He hears them rumbling when emptied out of the barrels.

            Despite his utmost care, the apple-picker cannot throw the apples undamaged in his barrel. Some of them fall down from the barrel and are pricked by the stubbles. The dream is so much clear and vivid that the poet can not decide which world is real and which one is the world of dream.

            In reality, he is picking normal apples but in a dream, he sees apples of great size and magnitude. The unfulfilled ambition of bumper harvest in the world of reality is realized in the world of dream. The experience the poet undergoes is on the one hand is pleasant as he tastes the pleasure of rich harvest and on the other hand, it is mind baffling for he finds a very close relationship between dream and reality. 

 

Q.2.   What does the empty barrel signify in After Apple Picking?

 

          Robert Frost, the poet, at the beginning of the poem mentions that after apple picking his barrel is still empty. The empty barrel literally signifies the unfinished work but symbolically it refers to a heap of unfulfilled desires. Although the apple-picker has been trying his utmost to fill his barrel with the apples picked by him, yet it is still empty because the apple tree did not bear enough fruit as the poet desired. In other words, it may be elaborated, though the poet was on the last step of the ladder, he enjoyed himself a high place in the world yet he could not perform enough good deeds when death encroached barrel of his deeds was half-filled. Sleep which itself signifies death reaches the poet when his activities were still unaccomplished, and he required some more years. Though he fills half of the barrel yet he harvests generous reward in the world hereafter for a few noble deeds he performed in his life in the form of ten thousand apples of great size and magnitude.

 

Q.3.   What kind of sleep does Robert Frost sleep?

Or     What similarity the poet hopes to discover between his sleep and of woodchuck?

 

While performing his work of picking apples, Robert Frost’s fatigue makes him feel extreme drowsiness. His fatigue and the scent of the ripe apples mingle and overpower the poet’s mind. In drowsiness, he begins to see the dream and he gets the vision of magnified apples. He hears them rumbling when emptied out of the barrels. The apple-picker has actually got tired of seeing the routine of loading and unloading of his apples. He admits that he himself has desired such a bumper harvest. Despite his utmost care, the apple-picker cannot throw the apples undamaged in his barrel. Some of them fall down from the barrel and are pricked by the stubbles. The dream is so much clear and vivid that it becomes difficult for the apple-picker to make difference between reality and dream. When he wakes up, he asks himself in his astonishment whether it is an ordinary human sleep or a long-dormant sleep like that of a woodchuck or the eternal sleep of death.

 

Q.4.   Find out points of comparison between the poem “Lights Out” and “After Apple-Picking”

 

There is a close resemblance between the poem “After Apple-Picking” and “Lights Out” which is as under:-

Both poems show the arrival of and power of sleep over man’s ambitions. Both give a hint that sleep may also be death-sleep instead of normal sleep. Both are fully realistic but imaginative. “Lights Out” describes the power of sleep in general. This poem shows the power through a particular person,

Both poems convey that sleep is the only rescuer from man’s nerve-breaking materialism. Both poems describe that sleep cannot be avoided when it comes. Both have some implicit t0 reference to death and change of seasons. Both poems are good pieces of art and literature.

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