Poetry is an attempt to describe the nature and intensity of one's feelings and opinions. Often, however, these thoughts are too vague or complex to articulate. How does a poet translate these abstract ideas into something more tangible and workable? Simple, metaphorical objects and situations can be used to represent more elusive concepts. These can be interpreted in many different ways, however, and poets often use the same symbols to produce varying effects. By comparing "After Apple-picking," by Robert Frost and "Apples," by Laurie Lee one can see how the poets coincidentally use similar subjects to discuss a broader, more meaningful issue. Both Frost and Lee use the apples in their poems to illustrate the relationship between man and nature, and to emphasize the importance of allowing natural processes to occur without interference. In addition to the use of simplified symbols, the tone of each poem and the styles in which they are written also reflect the poets' views on the topic.
Frost and Lee both discuss mankind's interaction with the environment, using the apple to represent nature as a whole. Each poet achieves this differently. Frost focuses on the negative effects that occur when man disturbs nature and attempts to control it for his own gain. His poem speaks of the winter, and of an apple-picker, with his 'ladder sticking through a tree.' The narrator faces with the consequences of his actions, and realizes the severity of his mistake. 'I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass I skimmed from the drinking trough.' Frost demonstrates how quickly and harshly the cold seems to come on after the apples are unnaturally stripped away. This reflects the way the Earth ...
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...h "Apples" is written reflects the empathy which connects Lee with nature. Both poets reflect their views by creating appropriate tones in their poems.
Frost and Lee illustrate the intended messages in their poems through the use of reflective tones and styles. They also use the simple symbol of the apple to represent nature on a larger scale. This allows the poets to illustrate the importance of maintaining a respect for nature and to demonstrate the effects of man's relationship with the environment. By examining Frost's "After Apple-picking" and Lee's "Apples," one is able to understand how poets often use the same subject to discuss different aspects of an issue. This is a valuable skill for communication of complex or nondescript ideas. It allows the poet to overcome the difficulty of describing the nature and intensity of his own abstract feelings.
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