NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English-After Apple Picking

Introduction: The beautiful poem “After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost is written in the first person, and the speaker is a hardworking, straightforward man who has been picking apples in an apple plantation throughout the day and is now overcome with fatigue because of all-day work and on account of his huge experience of picking apples. The poet makes an imaginative flight into the eternal world and stresses for the execution of good deeds and avoidance of evil deeds while living in the earthy world. It is winter, and the quick approaching night is making him sleepy. He realizes that he has still plenty of apples to pick, yet wouldn’t like to work any longer. He feels the profundity of his experience is going to make him dream clearly about apple-picking even while he is sleeping. He attempts to shake the drowsiness off him, and endeavours to focus on picking apples since he needs to take extraordinary consideration and not let any apple tumble to the ground, as then it will be viewed as useless. The speaker considers how tired he is, and how he needs to give sleep a chance to wash away his exhaustion, and wonders if it will be an ordinary ‘human’ sleep or a profound, hibernating sleep like the woodchuck.

In short, the poet looks back at his life and thinks about the mistakes he has committed as well as the happy times he has spent.

After Apple Picking

After Apple Picking

Summary of After Apple Picking

The poem describes his sleep and dream after a hard day spent in apple picking. The narrator is extremely exhausted and unable to escape the mental act of picking apples. He remembers the strange vision he had that morning when he looked at a bunch of grass through a sheet of ice he removed from a drinking trough. It looked like the world was melting, and then he dropped the piece of ice. He may or may not be falling asleep as he has these thoughts. He thinks of how he will dream about apples.

Though there is a barrel still left to be filled and a few apples left to be plucked he knows he has gathered quite a large number which have been stored in the cellar. He can feel the winter season approaching and his thoughts are filled with resting. He is quite certain that he will be dreaming of apples. He’s getting sick of harvesting apples. His feet ache from having spent hours on the rungs of the ladder while working. He has been very careful in handling the apples because if they had fallen they would be good only for making cider.

After Apple Picking

After Apple Picking

He imagines that these thoughts about worthless apples and dropping things will haunt his sleep. Finally, he wonders whether his sleep would refresh and rejuvenate him like the sleep of the woodchuck which hibernates during winter or whether it will just be a normal “human” sleep.
On a deeper level, the poet talks about his imminent death which is symbolised as sleep. He still has a few desires left unfulfilled and regrets the mistakes he has made in life. He also cherishes sum of their memories he has and wonders whether there would be any life after death.

Hyperbole: The poet has used hyperbole as “ten thousand thousand apples” in the poem. “Ten thousand thousand” apples would be ten million! It was not possible for the poet to count all the apples that he had picked. Instead, he is exaggerating. The technical term for this device is hyperbole.

Personification: The poet has also used the device of personification in the poem.
He personifies the woodchuck as if it were a person who could read the poem and say, “Yup, sounds like you’re headed for hibernation, my friend!” or, “Nope, you’re still just a human being. Sorry!”

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Metaphors: The poem is full of metaphors. The speaker’s strange view of the world, even since that morning, is compared metaphorically to sleep or to some other physical object that is caught in his eye. But he cannot “rub” out the strangeness in the way that you can rub out sleep in the morning.

Simile: He uses a subtle simile to describe the treatment of the fallen apples. They’re not really worthless because there’s still some value in the apple cider. But the point of the speaker is that they could also be worthless compared to the non – corrupted apples.

Solved Questions of After Apple Picking

Q.What does the pane of glass refer to? What is the poetic device used in the description?

Ans. The pane of glass refers to the sheet of ice that froze over the water because the speaker can see through it. A “glass” is also an old fashioned word for mirror. The poetic device metaphor is used in the description. The sheet of ice is described metaphorically as a “pane of glass”.

Q. What does apple picking refer to. Why has the poet given the poem this title?

Ans. Apple picking alludes to any human task to be performed after hard work and against all odds. The poet has given the poem this title because he wants to convey the readers the message that whatever work they perform while living in the world should be performed with hard labour, sincerity and devotion. “After Apple-Picking” is a poem about life and death, the veil that isolates these, and the association among death and rest. Its key symbol, the apple, is one which has represented life in various societies—the apple reviews the Norse golden apples of Idun, which gods must eat so as to stay young and immortal. The poet has given the poem this title also because it is quite useful on the grounds that, without it, you may believe that the poem is set during the apple-picking. As the speaker is about the fall asleep, he envisions that he is back in the orchard. However, his appearance is befuddled and disoriented. Aside from this useful help, the title is modest. It refers to a typical pre-winter work, at least for farmers who cultivate in New England.

Reference to the Context.

1. ‘I’ can not rub the strangeness……… and left it fall and break’.

a) What did the poet see through the pane of glass?
Ans. The poet saw the strangeness of the world through the pane of glass.

b) From where had he got this piece of glass?
Ans. He had got this piece of glass from a drinking trough.

c) How could the glass melt? What does this indicate about the weather conditions?
Ans. The glass could melt with the heat of the sun. It indicates about the hot weather conditions.

d) Does this have a deeper significance for the poet?
Ans. This has really a deeper significance for the poet. As the glass melts with the heat of the sun, similarly human life melts with the passing of time and finally culminates in death.

2. ‘My instep arch not only keep……… For I have had too much’.

a) Why does the poet’s insteps arch ache?
Ans. The poet’s instep arch ache because he has been on a ladder for a long time. His instep keeps the pressure of the ladder.

b) What was he been doing?
Ans. He has been picking apples.

c) What is the rumbling sound that the poet hears?
Ans. The rumbling sound that the poet hears is the sound of the apples being in a cellar bin.

d) Why does the poet say he had “too much”? What is he referring to?
Ans. The poet says this because he was now overtired of apple picking. He is referring to old age and death.

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e) Why does the ladder sway? What does it symbolise for the poet?
Ans. The ladder sways because the boughs of the tree bend. It symbolises for the poet that life is always in the power of death.

f) Explain the phrase ‘ ladder-round’.
Ans. The phrase ‘ladder round’ stands for the journey of life from the eternal world into the earthly world and back into the eternal world. The journey gets culminated on the same point from where it had emerged.

3. There were ten thousand thousand… As of no worth.

a) Why is the poet careful to see that his apples don’t fall to the ground?
Ans. The poet is careful because if the apples fall to the ground they will be considered of the second grade or worthless. In other words, the poet has realized the importance of good deeds.
He attempts to shake the drowsiness off him and tries to focus on picking apples since he needs to take extraordinary consideration and not let any apple tumble to the ground, as then it will be viewed as useless.

b) What is the poet trying to express by using the symbol of an apple that is spiked or bruised?
Ans. The poet is trying to express the evil deeds which one performs during one’s life span in the world.

c) What does he really mean by using the imagery of apples seeing cherished? What does one usually cherish?

Ans By using the imagery of apples seeing cherished, the poet means the good deeds that one executes during once life span in the earthly world. One usually cherishes such things that pay in the long run.

Explanation With Reference to the context:

1. I cannot rub the……. fall and break.

Context: These lines have been taken from the poem, “After Apples-Picking” written by Robert Frost. Here the poet makes an imaginative flight into the eternal world and stresses for the execution of good deeds and avoidance of the evil deeds while living on the earthy world.
Explanation: In the given lines, the poet says that he was not able to erase the different and strange experience which he had got while living in the earthly world. He had spent his life in the world which is full of troubles and temptation. He wanted to live but the mighty power of death took him into his lap.

2. But I was well…. dreaming was about to take.

Context: same as above
Explanation: In these lines, the poet says that he was well prepared before the power of death took him into his lap. He was so ready for death that he could anticipate what was going to happen after death in his dream.

Q. Try and guess what these objects mean in the poem: apples, barrel, ladder, swaying
Apples: Apples represent life in various societies. The apple reviews the Norse golden apples of Idun, which gods must eat so as to stay young and immortal.
Barrel: Barrel symbolises the good deeds that one has performed in the world.
Ladder: Ladder represents the journey of life from the earthly world to the eternal world.
Swaying: Swaying symbolises that life is full of troubles and difficulties. It also represents the life is always in the power of death.

Extra Questions of After Apple Picking


Q.1 Give the central idea of the Poem “After Apple-Picking” and Justify the title.

Ans. The poem ‘After Apple-Picking’ has been taken from the collection of Poems “North of Boston” written by Robert Frost. This is a well known American Poem on Man’s encounter with the natural world probing the dilemma of his existence. The poet who is an apple picker gives his reflections on boredom and drudgery in the aftermath of the task of picking apples. He says that he worked hard and got a bumper crop. He thought that he would enjoy his life but his excess work has taken away all the joy of his life. The work-weary apple picker is unable to enjoy his life in the culture of excessive work for increasing the material gain to no end.

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The poet has entitled this poem ‘After Apple-Picking’ which is the most suitable title. The title shows the uneasiness, boredom and drudgery of the apple picker after the unending task of picking apples. The title throws light on the mood and intensity of the poem commenting on the modern civilization of material gain.

Q.2 The poet has achieved a bumper crop at the cost of considerable physical and mental. Discuss.

Ans. The poet Robert Frost who is an apple picker in the poem is desirous of getting a bumper crop. So he exhausted himself physically and mentally. He worked hard and hoped that his laborious efforts would result in a great harvest. His hard work paid off and he got a great harvest. In the beginning, he was very happy and picked the apples cheerfully. He picks them dearly and didn’t let them fall. But there was no end of his task of picking apples. He made all the efforts but it seemed that there was no end of his work. Gradually, he lost his interest in his work. He said that he was tired of picking apples. The winter season has also arrived but there was uneasiness in him because even after doing so much work, a lot of work was left to be done. He wants to enjoy the beauty of life and closeness of nature but his works do not allow him to do so. The poem gives the message that there is no end of material gain and it takes away the peace and joy of life.

Q.3 Why can’t the poet rub strangeness from his sight?

Ans. The poem is about a weary apple picker who is not able to enjoy his life because of his unending work. He also wants to enjoy his sleep but he says that he can not rub the strangeness from his sight. Whenever he looks through a pane of glass, he feels uncomfortable and uneasy because he can see a lot of work which is still to be done. He is tired of his work and wants to take rest.

Q.4 What is implied by the phrase, ‘just some human sleep’?

Ans. The poet is tired of his enormous work which does not let him take rest. He feels as if there is no worth of his hard work because it has taken away the peace and joy of his life. The arrival of the winter season indicates that is the time to rest and enjoy but underdone work of apple picking make him uncomfortable. He has lost the rest of the day, the sleep of night because of his tedious work. He thinks of woodchuck who enjoys long sleep. He also wants to have such sleep but knows that it is not possible for him. So, he hopes to have just some human sleep.

Q.5 What does the repeated reference to sleep in the poem imply?

Ans. There is repeated reference to ‘sleep’ in the poem ‘After Apple-Picking’. The poet wants to say that he has lost the joy of his life because of his excessive work. He himself desired such work and then found that it is worthless because it has taken away the comfort and beauty of life. His work made him overtired and he has lost all his interest in his work. The repeated reference to sleep implies that the poet wants to run away from his work and enjoy his life. He wants to rest in his mind and body in the company of nature.

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