Rural setting in the poems of Robert Frost

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After Apple-Picking is a notable literary work by Robert Frost. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of After Apple-Picking.


Comment on the rural setting in the poems of Robert Frost.

Pastoralism is a term of literature that contrasts between simple and complicated life. Robert Frost (1874-1963) was a pastoral poet but did not follow pastoral poetry’s conventions and traditions. He has invented his own methods of composing pastoral poetry and has been successful in doing so. As a result of his invention, he has become a pastoral and modern poet at the same time.

Frost’s Pastoralism is not an Escape from Reality: Many readers may think that Frost’s pastoralism is an attempt to escape from the real world to the ideal world. He returns from city life to rural life to examine city life more deeply. Rural life is an artistic perspective for him from where he can analyze the complicated and problematic urban life. In his poems, Robert Frost contrasts human life and mechanical power through his unique pastoral setting.

Realistic pastoralism in Frost’s poetry: We find realistic pastoralism in Frost’s poetry. Pastoral elements are masterful or predominant in his poems, but the readers should not be confused about them. We should know that although pastoral elements are prevalent, Frost is realistic in his poetic vision and sensibility.

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep

Frost’s vision depends on the pastoral setting: In literature, every poet has a personal vision, such as in American poetry, Emily Dickinson’s poetic vision is dependent on death, and Whitman has a poetic vision based on democracy. In British English poetry, for example, Wordsworth’s vision depends on nature, likewise, Frost’s vision out and out depends on the pastoral setting.

Pastoralism relates to the romantic vision: Pastoralism is usually connected with a romantic vision. The commonplace objects and scenery are idealized, glorified, and tinged with imagination. Though Frost is passionate about pastoralism, realism forms the basis of vision and art because his poetry is loaded with subjectivity. Frost’s romantic vision has made him classic in terms of forms and interpretations of life based on realistic interests.

Frost is both a pastoral and a modern poet: We cannot call Frost an outdated poet, though we find a predominance of pastoral elements in Frost’s poetry. The modern elements are also predominant in his poetry. He shows a strong devotion and keen interest in rural life but also great passion and interest in modern elements.

His works include nostalgia, which is a pastoral pleasure. He also explores the dreadful aspects of man’s existence in the modern world. So, he is equally successful in treating pastoral as well as modern elements.

Rural Characters: In many of his poems, Frost depicts New England’s rural character. In the poem ‘Apple Picking,’ a tired farmer is returning home after picking apples, which is evident in the following quotation:

…… and there may be two or three,
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple – picking now,
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scene of apples; I am drowsing off

To conclude, Frost is a pastoral poet with a difference as he has adopted a pastoral setting only to differentiate between simplicity and complexity.