Even in the earlier days of Robert Frost’s long arduous active life, he looked upon the journey of life in a more seiner way. Where most of the younger crowd may prefer a “happy go lucky” approach to life, Frost invested his every adapting yet inspiring mind into mysteries and the choices we come across in life, the issues of mortality and morals, and one’s view of death are explored in such a way, one may find it difficult but to be inspired by his work.
“After Apple Picking” and “The road Not Taken” at first appear to be worryingly similar to each other. Not only they were crafted by the same poet at approximately the same time, but the actual content dig into similar ground as in the two of them, they mostly drenched into the past rather than the present and future.
However, “After Apple-Picking” is told through the voice of a tired, weary-some aged man coming to the realization that he hans’t got much left to give and is looking forward to greeting death like an old friend. “The Road Not Taken” is also being told by an older man, only he has aged better and is daydreaming about past choices, and that has made all the difference.
The poem “After Apple Picking” immediately begins with a metaphor that describes ladders pointing up “Towards heaven.” This is the line that perfectly introduces the poem. Being told from the eyes of an old man, he tells us that the sent of apples is the “Essence of winter sleep is on the night.” If one was to look into the metaphoric language of seasons, one may find that the season of the cold may refer to the end of one’s life.
So to refer to the occupation this unfortunate man has endured, “sleep,” it is clear that his active days are coming to a close. This strong, message is repeated throughout the text. The water that froze with contact with the, “pane of glass,” the “hoary grass,” are more metaphors to the end of one’s journey.
Later on through the poem, a confusing array of vague words and phrases suggest that the narrator is in the, “dream state.” These phrases of no apparent meaning are undoubtably bewildering and makes one decide for him or herself what only exists in the dream and what is real. This sequence of messages to the reader that the narrator is understandably moderately tired after another day at apple picking, but there is evidence that the narrator was tired at the beginning of the poem. He also attempted to “Rub the strangeness from my eyes” but to no prevail. It is clear that the end is near.
Although the narrator’s body is telling him that it is time to move on from life, he actually may not be entirely satisfied with what he’s done. The lines, “a barrel that I didn’t fill” and “Apples that I didn’t pick,” suggest that he wishes that he could do more, but he is toy tired for that. However, near the beginning, the narrator smugly suggests that, “There may be two or three” apples that he purposely left that could have filled the bucket with.
Did he choose to stop and quit, that is a possibility. However, there is another sense of incompleteness as the “Great harvest” he had once desired never came to be. Although he would leave much behind him, from the poem overall, it is clear that this old man is looking forward in welcoming death.
Although “The Road Not Taken” is also told from the view of an old man full of regrets, at the end of his life he is not. At the core, this poem is rather simple, the narrator stands in a forrest with two paths that lay in front of him, each are as worn as the other, and both have an equal number of undisturbed leaves. He knows that once he chooses one, there is no turning back.
The first line instantly tells the reader the age, or at least the mental age of the narrator. If we should trust the metaphoric language of seasons once again, the narrator is now quite middle aged. This suggests that it is time where he should look back to evaluate the choices that he had previously made.
In the first stanza and for much of the second, the narrator is adamant about the fact that he “took the other” because “it wanted wear.” On this retelling, you may come to believe that the narrator wants you to believe that he took the road “less travelled by” but that is simply not the case. “Though for that, the passing there, Had worn them really about the same” suggests that although he wants you to believe that he chose a unique, a different route, he has to admit that that isn’t the case.
By the third stanza, the narrator himself is confused and is unsure about himself and his choices. “What would the other road lead to?” “”Could I go back?” These are questions that the narrator throws at his audience, even though he answers them with doubt if he could go back as there just isn’t time.
The last stanza is one that is full of questions. The famous line, “And that has made all the difference,” when viewed on its own most would interoperated “the difference” as a positive outcome, but by reading the rest of the poem, that outcome cannot be justified. The narrator didn’t give it away because simply, he has not come to the stage of life where he has experienced the “difference” which further expands on the theory that there is still life in him. The word “sigh” may also have two meanings, one positive and the other not so. If the word sigh was positive, it would refer to the worst, or the most difficult part or consequence may be over.
The sigh however may also be full of grief and regret, but once again, the poet did not expand on the sigh leaving the reader bewildered on what it refers to. It may be because once again that he simply isn’t in a time to know yet. Although he has lived through a significant portion of his life that he has gone too far into a path to turn back, the full results of the choice he made at the start have not been fully experienced yet.
These two poems clearly outline the differences between how two older men may look upon life. One may look past the perhaps unsatisfying life he had live and is welcoming death, the other is looking back into the past, his choices and regrets, but is also looking forwards to what else life may surprise him with.