Frost- an Enviornmentalist?

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After Apple Picking confused me a bit more than some of Frost's other poems. I'm probably not reading it right, but here's what I got out of it.

The first thing that sprang to mind was the concept of the apple representing sin. Sure, it's over done, it's cliche, but there's a reason for that. And it certainly seemed at least plausible to me. Thus, the next step that I had to tackle was the sin itself. What is Frost saying is a sin? What sin has this narrator committed? As I read the rest of the poem certain lines pointed me towards my answer.

I think that the sin which Frost is discussing is the over-exploitation of the earth's resources. Lines 27-36 in particular give me the image of fields and fields of apple trees that were systematically picked clean and now are bare. It seems as though the efforts of picking all of the apples has left our narrator exhausted and incapable of surviving the coming winter. I also got the impression that he did not store the apples and is thus unable to fend against the cold and hunger of the new season.

 Thus, as he slowly gives up on picking the last apples, our narrator lays down and allows himself to be carried off into death. His last thoughts are those of regret as he slowly realizes the mistakes he made during the fall.

These few lines in particular truly make me feel that Frost is warning us about over harvesting our resources. Whether they be lumber, coal, oil, or whatever it be, Frost seems to be making a doomsday prediction about the future of our world if we continue down the narrator's path.



Alyssa Sanow said:

Sin! What an interesting interpretation! I took the apples to mean almost the exact opposite. I looked at the apples as missed opportunities or goals that the narrator was unable to accomplish during the prime of his life. Either way, however, the narrator surrenders succumbing to death in a most depressing fashion with regret on his mind.

Carlos Peredo said:

After reading Aja's blog and talking to her I realized that this was probably a much more common interpretation. I'm not sure what I think now, because I think both sides could sort of make sense.

Aja Hannah said:

Fun Fact: The word for "apple" in Latin is the same as the word for "evil" in the singular form. It is "mal" which is actually used for other bad words in english now like "maligned".

At least we all agree on the idea that the narrator dies in the end.

Matt Henderson said:

This is an interesting interpretation, although I'm not sure if I agree that apple-picking is portrayed very strongly as a sin. Can picking too many apples off a tree really harm the environment? If not picked, they just naturally fall off the tree, right? I'm just curious, I don't actually know a lot about the biology of apple trees. Certainly, apple imagery can be very easily associated with the concept of original sin, which according to the Bible is the reason why people die. I too was getting a very stong "death" vibe from this poem, though I'm not sure if we can even be sure that the speaker dies at the end--he makes reference to the uncertainty of what kind of sleep is coming over him--"whatever sleep it is," line 38. But the complexity of meaning in this poem is probably why the reason why it has stood the test of time; there are so many different valid and meaningful interpretations of it.

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