After Apple-Picking can be interpreted in many different ways. It has biblical
references, referring to Adam and Eve, and also shows feelings of an every day
commoner. This piece of literary work is more meaningful with each examination of
reading it and experIencing its contents.
After Apple-Picking is about a man who is ready for death. He thinks about
all of his accomplishments and wonders about the perks of life he may have missed out
on. As the speaker of the poem, or, the narrator, becomes drowsy with confusion, he
begins to go off into his final sleep. The narrator is tired of the chaotic choices one has in
life and ponders of any last regrets.
The poem begins with a long ladder pointing toward the heavens. He is looking
down upon apples that have not yet been picked. (Apples in the biblical sense were from
the tree of knowledge). He shows no sign of regret that all the apples were not picked.
He states that he is done with apple pickingnow and somewhat confident in his
calling it quits. But yet there is a barrel I didt fill(3), meaning that there are things that
are not learned. It seems as though his waking hours are drawing near. The essence of
winter sleep is on the night(8), showing signs of mortality. The narrator then states of
the strange view he sees of the hoary grass(12) through a small sheet of ice. Looking
through this glass(the ice), it begins to melt. This shows a theory of his life and his view
of his world coming to a termination. He could see himself dying, without accomplishing
all he would have liked to do in his lifetime. The narrator seems very optimistic. He is
strong in his nature about thoughts of afterlife. The magnified apples(18) appearing
and disappearing are his life flashing before his eyes. These are things that have been
done and that are now left undone. His dreams shall be of his many accomplishments.
Stem end and blossom end(19) is the overview of his lifes works. He believes he held
himself up when boughs bend(23) and things may have gotten hard. He sees he made
it through life making somewhat reasonable choices. The sounds from the cellar bin is
the crying of the unfinished and untouched things in life that are put off until too late. He
again admits that he is overtired of the apple picking. His fiend and search for
knowledge now has been swept away and overcome by his urge for rest and sleep. The
knowledge is as of no worth(36) now. This is again like Adam and Eve, eaing from
the tree of knowledge. They too became full and they too wanted the knowledge and
choices of life. Once they had it, they no longer wanted it. Finally accepting the choices
he has made throughout his lifetime, he is truly concerned of what trouble may arise in
his sleep.He wonders if he had ever in fact, made the right decisions and if he really had
taken advantage of all open opportunities. He wonders where his sleep will take him,
heaven or hell, whatever sleep it is(38).

The narrator symbolizes himself repetitvely to the woodchuck. The poem
suggests that the speaker is going in and out of sleep, like hibernation. The speaker has
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eaten a lot of food, Of the great harvest I myself desired.(29), like one would in
hibernation. Maybe the reader is an animal of some sort whom would be waking up
periodically-seeing and experiencing different things. Then, the presence of winter
coming on feels like the referring to mortality. The question of about what kind of sleep
to expect, suggests some kind of new life;an after life or maybe just as the wood chuck
The speaker in this poem is talking in narrative form. Heis a simple, elderly man
who is probably very common. He is strained emotionally from lifes choices and
confusions. The narrator is talking to himself, almost as if he were performing a
There are many aspects to my interpretation to the theme of this poem. One
seems to be do not put anything off. It also looks as if the man was very negative
towards himself for not being responsible for everything that surrounded him. He felt as
if he had missed out on something by not jumping at every opportunity that came across
his way. Hes guilty for not forever searching out every bit of knowledge available. This
leads us to believe to never decline a lesson to be learned. After Apple-Picking can
probably also be determined as After living your life. You learn only through
The syntax in After Apple-Picking, is very catching and almost
predetermined. The short lines in the poem are threatening. They are widely seperated
Line 8: The scent of apples: I am drowsing off
Line 12: I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
This enhances the fateful tone of the poem by creating confusion, like one who is ready
to die. The death notes at the end of the lines determines that the writer is strongly giving
finality to the characters life. Also, after labeling the rhyme scheme in a basic
ABCD..etc. fashion, the rhyme scheme eventually reaches all the way down to the
letter Y.Notice it does not continue to the end at Z. I believe this symbolizes the
stage of life that the narrator places himself in. He has not quite made it to the tail end of
death, but the end for him is lingering near.

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1.Henderson, Gloria Mason, Bill Day, and Sandra Stevenson Waller.Literature and Ourselves. New York: Longman, 1996.

2.Hacker, Diane.The Bedford Handbook.Boston: Bedford Books, 1998.

3.Frost, Robert. After Apple-Picking