Slow Surrender

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"...there may be two or three

Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.

But I am done with apple-picking now."

"After Apple Picking" by Robert Frost

 

            As I crossed the stage in front of friends and family to receive my high school diploma, memories of football games, parties, and our senior prank danced across my mind, but they were thrown out of rhythm by the games I didn't go to, the parties I didn't attend, and the other opportunities I had turned down in the last four years. This memory struck me only because I interpreted Frost's "apples" as symbolizing his own opportunities and those left on the branch are ones he missed out on. Being mere mortals, it's impossible to take every opportunity with which we are presented, but the narrator's surrender that is evident in "But I am done with apple-picking now" is somewhat annoying. New and exciting opportunities don't simply stop existing as one ages, and to stop "apple-picking" is like making a conscious decision to stop enjoying life. The apples I hadn't picked haunted me during the most important event of my life so far, but I don't ever plan on quitting "apple-picking" because it is adventure and excitement that make life worth living!

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL267/2009/02/frost_after_apple_picking/

2 Comments

Alicia Campbell said:

I appreciate your take on the poem. I agree that perhaps instead of focusing on the opportunities he missed out on, Frost should have be grateful for the opportunities of which he took advantage. I guess you can say rather than looking at the barrel as half empty, Frost should look at is as half full. Similarly, instead of looking at the apples that remain on the boughs of the tree, focus on those that did make it into the barrels.

Christopher Dufalla said:

I had a few interpretations floating around in my head when I read this poem. One particular thought that stuck out to me was his use of sleep. Having read your ideas, Alyssa, I feel that the idea of missing opportunities fits with one of my ideas pertaining to sleep. A dreary but plausible use of sleep is that dormition that we often fear: death. Perhaps Frost was ready for the eternal sleep and if the apples represented opportunities in life, perhaps he was saying that the opportunities were meant to be unexperienced. I could be completely wrong, but maybe, as Alicia commented, Frost was reflecting on having taken so many opportunities within his life, but also mentioning that there was destined to be a number of which he missed out on and left for another.

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