Study Guide

After Apple-Picking Dissatisfaction

By Robert Frost

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The speaker has that feeling of too much of a good thing. He has probably been waiting for the apple harvest all summer, but now there are just so many apples to deal with that he has grown sick and tired of picking them. He is worn out, but we can't quite tell whether it is that "happy tired" feeling. He feelings like he could almost sleep for an entire winter, which sounds great to us, but he is also worried that his sleep will be haunted by dreams about apples and dropping things and, worst of all, cider! Maybe "dissatisfaction" isn't the most accurate word here: "unsettled" might be closer to the mark.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. Is the "strangeness" the speaker mentions in line 9 or 10 a good or a bad thing?
  2. What are the different connotations of the word "overtired" that he uses to describe his attitude toward the harvest (line 28)?
  3. What, exactly, will "trouble" his sleep, and why do these thoughts and images have a negative implication for him?
  4. What has happened during the day to make him seem so anxious? Are his anxieties justified?

Chew on This

The apple harvest has not met the speaker's expectations, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. He is so taken by surprise that he can only characterize the experience as one of "strangeness."

The speaker's relation to the natural world is haunted by human ideas of sin and the fall from grace. He cannot fully enjoy the harvest as an experience of pure innocence.

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