The purpose of this essay is to analyze the poem of Robert Frost, “After Apple Picking” with race and post colonial literary criticism. The subject of racism has been a lively topic for critical debate since approximately the 1950s, with critics examining the treatment of various kinds of discrimination based on race, religion, or gender in literary works, both past and present, as well as in the attitudes of the writers themselves. In some cases racism is a prominent, or even the chief theme, while in other works critics have revealed racist attitudes that serve as underlying assumptions, but may not be immediately evident to the reader. One of the more obvious things to look at is the author. What was Robert Frost like? What type of home did he grow up in? What do you think his personal beliefs were concerning different types of discrimination? While doing some research I read that Robert Frost’s grandfather, whom he lived with, was the overseer of a cotton mill.
Among the major responsibilities of the overseer were the welfare and discipline of the slaves. With that being said Robert Frost was not a stranger to racism.
First, you can infer this poem does not take place in modern day time. Reason being, is because the author says, “My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree” so the narrator obviously has one of those old-fashioned ladders with the two points at the end that you have to lean against the tree.
Next you have to look at the narrator and the actual things they say. In lines 3-6 the narrator says “And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough. But I am done with apple-picking now.” The narrator could be an African American living during the times of slavery. The apples could represent different white people that he thought where all the same. The poem says “and there may be two or three Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.”. These could represent the different white people that he did not give a chance assuming that they were all the same. He later says “ But I am done with apple picking now.” . The narrator is growing old and is dying. Now he regrets being so pessimistic and not giving each individual a chance.
In summary, from a race and post colonial point of view you could say that this poem shows that certain events in someone’s life could affect a person’s outlook on an entire race. People should not live like this, because everyone is not the same. Yes in those days the majority of whites treated blacks wrong but that does not mean they all agreed with how they were treated. Racism still exist today but not everyone is prejudice. I have white friends and even white family members. We cannot continue to live judging people based on the color of their skin. Evelyn Glennie once said, Society cannot continue to disable themselves through their need to categorize people or make assumptions as to another individual’s abilities.