Commentary On “ After Apple Picking Essay

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| Commentary on “ after apple picking” | Robert Frost | | | In Frost's poetry any deviation, not only from the iambic foot but from the iambic pentameter line as well, is an important marker of the speaker's state of mind, his control, and his capacity for irony. "After Apple Picking" keeps resolutely returning to pentameter lines, but the speaker is drowsy, and the opening twelve-syllable line - "My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree" - is like the last murmured words before sleep. Of course, it also represents, as does the whole masterful structure of the poem, Frost's own precise control of tone, as he creates a speaker who is precariously "upon [his] way to sleep." This fatigued vulnerability manifests itself in an escalating slippage of control from ten-syllable lines to foreshortened lines like "For all / That struck the earth," or eleven-syllable lines like "No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble." And as the speaker moves toward an increasing intuition of the symbolic underpinnings of his exhaustion, which is the result not just of his picking apples but of other more visceral frustrations and fears, the frequency of these variations increases. Throughout the poem, both rhyme and line-length are manipulated and varied with subtlety. The mystery of the rhymes—when will they come and how abruptly—keeps words and sounds active and hovering over several lines.. Sleep comes seven lines after its partner, heap, and in the interim, sleep has popped up three times in the middle of lines. Sleep is, in fact, all over the poem; the word appears six times. But the way it is delivered here, the last rhyme is masterful. Heap first rhymes internally with sleep, then again internally with sleep, and then again, and only pairs up with the end-word sleep in the poem’s last line. At this point, we’ve nearly forgotten heap. Sleep

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