Robert Frost and John Keats

Robert Frost and John Keats are two notable poets whose poems use a variety of literary instruments to express their meaning. Frost’s poem After Apple Picking is one of his most notable works of poetry. On the surface, the reader might assume that the poem is about being exhausted after picking apples, but the poem has a deeper meaning. In their poetry, Frost and Keats employ literary instruments. The literary instruments greatly enhance the poem’s flavor and assist the reader in deciphering the poem’s broader meaning. The instruments used in the poem express contemplative emotions and help the reader appreciate the poem. This paper will analyze the use of imagery in both Frost and Keats’ poems. It will also provide an analysis into the use of language and tone in the two poems and establish the effectiveness of the language used in reinforcing the message. Furthermore, the metaphor is an important literary device that is evident from the two poems that this paper will be evaluated.

Literary Analysis

Frost’s poem, “After Apple-Picking” employs metaphors which are expressed in the difficult times. The metaphor of stem and blossom represent the seasonal development of the ideas from the start to the end. The poem contains metaphors that imply the changing aspects of life in the life of a person. The changing season enables the apples to be ripe and be picked. Notably, the seasonal metaphor helps the reader in understanding the deeper meaning of the poem. Indeed, the heaven in Frost’s poem is a metaphor of his thinking about passing on and represents a reflection of his life. The poem depicts an extended metaphor of the actual process. Notably, the rooms are a representation of the things that the speaker has not done in life. The aspect of Apple gathering connotes the idea of living and carrying out the things required in life. The metaphor of the poems can also be narrowed down to opportunities and ideas in life.

Similarly to Frost, Keats also uses a metaphor. Evidently, each line of the poem does offer a new form of figurative language and the heavy use of the metaphors. This enables the Keats to turn the world of the poem into a playground of imagination. The symbolic imagery that is vividly evident in the poem make a suggestion of Keats feeling concerning the aim of the poem composition. The use of the word “teeming” portrays limitless fertility of the creative imagination Meyer 679). The soil is where crops are planted, and this is metaphoric to the brain which has creativity. Another symbolism is evident when Keats writes that standing “alone on the shore of the world” (Meyer 679). This shows that all his anxieties and personal ambitions are significantly drained as he contemplates the finality and ubiquity of death.

Frost also uses imagery in his poem. Imagery is evident in the first two lines when he does talk of the ladder that is in the tree “reaching toward heaven still” (Meyer 876).. the reader can view an image of a ladder that stretches to heaven. This could be used a symbol of death and aftermath. The idea does give a visual portray and comparison of a long, long life that ends abruptly. Another source of emerging is evident in line 9 where Frost writes that “I cannot rub this strangeness from my sight” (Meyer 876). Indeed, this does give an image of an undefeated blur clouding the reader’s mind. Frost also explains the way the person views at a piece of ice and realized it had a change in his perception and thus provided a picturesque of frozen thoughts.

Along with the use of imagery, Frost employs the language of meter and diction which manages in gaining appropriate flow of the poem along with facilitating the conveyance of the tone. Notably, the poem is written in a loose iambic parameter. Frost employs lines which are short and which rest breaking the flow. For example, Frost writes “But I was well” in line 14 (Meyer 876). The tone is also important in conveying the intended message of the author and evidently, the majority of the words in them poem present to have a degree of significance and the author meticulously selected the words to make the poem interesting to the reader. Similarly, Keats uses iambic parameter language in his poem. Keats language is used to make a transformation of the abstract ideas into vivid and concrete pictorial images. The first quatrain implies Keats feelings were concerning the storage of creative imagination. The language employed overflow fecundity evident from the words “gleaned” “teeming”, “rich garners” and “full-ripened grain” (Meyer 679). Besides, he uses the language of feminine beauty, sorrow of loss and human love. The reader can notice the poignant impact of the stressed ‘f’s in “feel”, fair,’ ‘faery’ and “unreflecting” (Meyer 979). The language also evidences repetition in line 10 and 11 which provide emphasis to the highlighting thesis of the poem. Furthermore, the tone and the language is enhanced by the vowel sounds such as “wide world … alone” and clipped endings evident in “think” and “sink” (Meyer 679). The majority of the ending lines are coincided with grammatical pause and thus indicating the agency of the persona’s feelings and also conveying his desires of living his dreams and experiences.

The purpose of using imagery by Frost and Keats is to help in passing the message of the poem using a language that is vivid, visual and strong and thus reinforcing the underlining ideas. The words used in creating images in the head of the reader are vital in the interpretation of the poem along with providing inspiration to the reader. The imagery description takes advantage of the readers’ senses and creates vividness of real imaginations. Frost and Keats incredibly employ imagery which meaningfully provokes photographic effects. The metaphor used in the poems are used to illustrate a tool that gets the reader to view the poem in different angles and not just the surface meaning. The metaphor helps the reader to get into various spheres and cultivate a different way of thinking to get the underlining meaning of the poem. The metaphor makes the reader think deep and finds the meaning of the poem. The iambic parameter is significant as it assists in understanding the tone and the diction that relates to the given poem. Besides, the language used by the two writers enabled them to build poetic structural elements along with bringing out strong melodic undertones. The meter guides the desired voice fluctuations and thus maintaining the smooth and steady flow of the ideas in the entire poem.


Frost and Keats correctly use literary devices in their poems. Metaphor, imagery, and language are magnificently used in the two poems to attract the attention of the reader. The imagery is employed to create pictures in the mind of the reader while the language makes the poem to flow desirably. The metaphor used provides deeper meaning. Indeed, the two poems are a masterpiece of literature which is enigmatically written conveying thoughts and feelings to the reader in an attractive way with the use of the literary devices.

Work Cited

Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 11th Edition. Bedford Martins, 2016.

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