Robert Frost is an American poet who drew his images from the New England countryside and his language from the New England speech. His poetry was mainly about the life of the rural New Englander. Frost’s focus was on everyday subject matters. A lot of his poems were concerned with how people interact with their environment, and the beauty of nature. I will be analyzing some of Frost’s poems including After Apple-Picking, An Old Man’s Winter Night, The Road Not Taken, Acquainted with the Night and discussing the themes apparent in each.
After Apple-Picking describes how after a hard day of picking apples the speaker dreams of the activity but in his dreams these activities are blurred. This is inferred by when he says ?I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass.?1 There seemed to be a celebration of harvest as well as a longing to escape the pain of the real world. The rhythm of the poem is confusing, as there is a mixing of tones and tenses that suggest some contradictory event. As when he said ? Magnified apples appear and disappear?2 then contradicts it and says ?Of load on load of apples coming in.?3 This rhythm also suggests repetitive toil and drained energy.
The theme of nature is obvious in this poem. The speaker seemed to cherish the moments spent on apple picking, but is now too tired to continue. There seemed to be a sense of him wanting to melt into the nothingness of death. The speaker becomes both mentally and physically exhausted as the apples are gathered. ? For I have had too much of apple-picking; I am overtired of the great harvest I myself desired.?4 This again brings out Frosts combination of pastoral/human and poetic work.
An Old Man’s Winter Night speaks of an old man dying in the winter in New England alone. Again in this poem we see nature standing and looking on. There is a sense that humans, though we live together, each is a single person who has to face issues individually. This old man seems to represent the emotion of human loneliness even though ?a light he was to no one but himself.?5
In Acquainted with the Night the speaker speaks of his or her confrontation with some type of nothingness, speaking of their being ?one acquainted with the night.?6 From the words you can tell that the speaker is experiencing some type of homelessness and loneliness from where he or she says they ?have looked down the saddest city lane.?7 You can see in the third verse of the poem that ?when far away an interrupted cry?8 did not concern him and that he was not acknowledged. When the speaker glanced at the moon it suggests to him the indifference of time proclaiming ?the time was neither wrong nor right.?9 Nothing changes because of him and time neither judged nor guided his journey. The metaphor of the night suggests loneliness and hopelessness. It implies the state of the poet, which is one of darkness itself.
One of Frost’s lesser known poems entitled The Road Not Taken is about the choice a lifetime. Like all of Frost’s poems it is written in a plain and simple dialect. The speaker is faced with two roads in which he cannot see the end. He can and has to choose only one road. He decides to take the one that is less traveled and has less wear. Critics have interpreted the poem as an expression of regret that ones’ ability to explore the different possibilities of life as being so sharply limited. This is a good point since most people are face with choices at some point in their life that they do not know the outcome to.
Basically the poem is suggesting to the fact that human beings have choices and the choice one makes, whether a good one or a bad one, one has to live with the consequences. The poem would seem to suggest that before one makes a choice, one need to consider the possibilities or consequences of these choices. In other words what I’m saying is that there must be a substantial reason for anything that one decides to do. It just enforces the fact that you should carefully examine your options.
It has been prominent to me that Frost loved to write his poems based on everyday life. He wrote about the exhaustion, hardship, loneliness and the decisions faced by everyday people living in this world. Frost seemed to be a simple person and wrote in a simple language that people of different ages and education levels might enjoy his work.
Robert Frost Website, Accessed 13 April 2000. Available from
The Road Not Taken, Accessed 15 April 2000. Available from