After Apple Picking - Sexual Connotations

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Submitted by: jon1jt - Literature Network Forum Member
 
Thanks for sharing; I'm a huge Frost fan. Don't be discouraged
about publishing it, these kind of interpretations take time to simmer in the literary milieu. I found your interpretation of After Apple Picking to be articulate, precise, and convincing. I read a Frost biography and it's no secret in the critical works of Frost that he used the sexual innuendo, poems like Bird's Song and Birches among many. Frost wasn't a womanizer, however, and remained monogamous from all accounts till after his wife's death, with whom he fell passionately in love as a teen; and having, early on, been rejected by her contemplated suicide carrying him on a sojourn into the woods before abandoning it. Your references to Frost having scores of women to choose from is affirmative. In the twilight of his career, he had a rapturous relationship with his friend's wife that carried on for many years that caused him, at times, to be jealous and spiteful toward her. I'll leave their outdoor rompings for the curious reader to locate elsewhere! In light of your work, the only constructive criticism I have - not that you're asking for it - is it is a bit too linear and strictly interpreted, almost to a suffocating degree. Frost's work is multifarious and he plays with double meaning and contrast. He was the one who said poetry is to be listened to like a conversation through a closed door you can't entirely grasp. Frost is uber-sensual, whose word play is most complex of poets. Overall, I think you nailed it.
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M......



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually it's about Frost's need to feed the woodchuck massive amounts of apples and then nail him with his, hmmm, "ladder".

This is an excellent spoof of poetry dissection; but you need to separate, even in satire, the desire to believe that the speaker is the poet.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:10 pm    Post subject: After Apple Picking by Robert Frost-A Chauvinistic Lust Poem Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post

It is not a spoof. If you can, direct me to any source other than myself, that expands upon the often stated notion that After Apple Picking contains sexual connotations. I am truly not being sarcastic when I ask that perhaps you could undertake the task of detailing those often touted sexual connotations. Is using the ladder on the woodchuck your idea of a sexual connotation, if so mine is better. Right or wrong, at least now an attempt has been made to explain them for the literary world to accept or reject.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not the literary world but this argument is akin to the people who see sexual acts in Disney films; the Bible yes, the Lion King no. (We all know to see hot lion on lion action one needs the Discovery channel.)

I'm hardpressed to see how this is about rape, let alone sex which is a different field altogether. You just don't persuade me.

"...direct me to any source other than myself, that expands upon the often stated notion that After Apple Picking contains sexual connotations. I am truly not being sarcastic when I ask that perhaps you could undertake the task of detailing those often touted sexual connotations."

Have you ever thought that perhaps you're wrong and that there are no sexual connotations and that's why you're being rejected?

I know, I know you claim otherwise:

It is about the Robert Frost poem entitled After Apple Picking that I am right and the whole world is wrong. I have tried in vain to have my essay regarding that poem published but no one appreciates my analysis, so I stand alone in that regard and must do it myself. In order to build upon the notion that the poem is laced with sexual depth and filled with lust, I have written an extensive essay. I welcome replies with regard my thoughts on the matter but in so doing please respect the bounds of intellectual decency. Please be advised that my essay is adult literature. Go to
http://whendarknessfell.tripod.com/ Cheers, J.T. Best

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M.......
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After M...... wrote,

Quote:
This is an excellent spoof of poetry dissection; but you need to separate, even in satire, the desire to believe that the speaker is the poet.


I held my breath. After reading JTBest's initial exegisis, it didn't seem like he was kidding -- but then, I've been wrong before.

But now, JT says this is no spoof.

JT -- Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


M.....
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:03 pm    Post subject: Is a cigar just a cigar Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post

Is a cigar just a cigar? It depends upon who is smoking it...a man...yes...a woman...maybe not!
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M......



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm not the literary world but this argument is akin to the people who see sexual acts in Disney films; the Bible yes, the Lion King no. (We all know to see hot lion on lion action one needs the Discovery channel.)


While there is no sex in The Lion King, there is a part in the film where a swirl of dust goes up into the night sky and spells the word "sex." (I swear I am not making this up.)

Also, in the original version of The Little Mermaid, the preacher who is going to marry the prince to the disguised sea witch has a moment where he becomes "very happy," so to speak, and it is quite noticeable.

I know this is off the subject, but it is something I have seen and been amused by.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: Is a cigar just a cigar Reply with quote

J.T.Best wrote:
Is a cigar just a cigar? It depends upon who is smoking it...a man...yes...a woman...maybe not!


But if you're using this logic you've got to give more weight to the woodchuck, it's the only other living creature mentioned. You've parsed everything else down to a base sexual level, the ladder, the barrel, apples, and the hoary grass and cellar bin how can you simply pass over the woodchuck?

What do you see in The Objection to Being Stepped On? Do you have more than one essay, I'd think you'd want to look at more than one poem by Frost and site other critiques and interpretations.
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M......



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="M......"]
Quote:
While there is no sex in The Lion King, there is a part in the film where a swirl of dust goes up into the night sky and spells the word "sex." (I swear I am not making this up.)


I didn't see it. I tried. Super slow motion and stop frame.

Not saying innuendo isn't thrown into cartoons...how many times does Bugs Bunny dress like a woman, that sick bastard!

BUT, I'm hard pressed to believe that J.T. Best's argument is accurate. I'm open to a lot but this just made me think he is having a good deal of fun or is an exhibitionist in a read my dirty words sort of way.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Literary exhibitionism Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post

Quite frankly this "exhibitionist" type of comment was my greatest fear when I decided to publish the Apple Picking essay. In fact I have five books and over fifty professional and general articles published and the word "sex" isn't in any of them. Lots and lots of personal poetry that I am putting together for publication and still not a word of sex. This sexual orientated essay is a one off thing in my life, triggered by my English professor's comment back in 1963. But it is so strong in my mind that I wanted to know what others thought about it plus the fact that lots of commentators talk about the sexual connotations in After Apple Picking but not a single essay or article can be found explaining what they are. Now there is.

Last edited by J.T.Best on Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject: The Objection To Being Stepped On Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post

I see two levels to "The Objection To Being Stepped On". The first is its overall simplistic presentation that was probably inspired by reality. Having lived on a farm in the hills of West Virginia back in the forties, I know all about the adversities from of stepping on a prostrate hoe or rake. It is the second level that is revealing. "I dreamed I was a frog that dreamed he was a man and then woke up not knowing which he was". The poem cautions me to beware that things are not always as they appear. The simpliest garden tool can be a weapon and once that dual (or mutiple) use is discovered, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two in regards to which reality we are living in at the moment.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Literary exhibitionism Reply with quote

J.T.Best wrote:
fact I have five books and over fifty professional and general articles published and the word "sex" isn't in any of them.


So only poor Mr. Frost's one poem has you seeing phallic images?

Quote:
...plus the fact that lots of experts talk about the sexual connotations in After Apple Picking ....



Who/where are these experts?
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posted November 15, 2005 02:41 AM


It is about After Apple Picking by Robert Frost that I stand in passionate opposition to the mainstream literary world. I have tried in vain to have my interpretation of that poem published but no one appreciates my insight, so I stand alone and must do it myself. In order to build upon the notion that the poem is a bit chauvinistic, laced with sexual depth and filled with lust, I have crafted the definitive essay that sets forth in vivid detail the poem's often touted but never explained sexual connotations. I welcome any reader comments regarding my journey into the depths of the Robert Frost psyche and should you choose to express yourself in reply, then please do so within the bounds of law and intellectual decency. Please be advised that I consider the content on the second page of the following website as intellectual literature for adults only. Go to: http://whendarknessfell.tripod.com/

------------------

 

         

D..........

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posted November 15, 2005 06:03 AM


Well this seems like a very valid line of analysis to me, J.T.

Something which I always think is difficult with this kind of analysis, though, is author intention. To what extent was Frost aware his poem is about seducing women? I.e. your analysis might be a Freudian interpretation rather than an actual analysis of the text. You may say it is clearly a sexual poem, but someone else might claim otherwise if Frost was not consciously aware he was writing a sexual poem.

In my experience poets are often blissfully unaware of many features in their texts. The unconscious is given great scope as the poet sits there trying to conjur up the next phrase. Why does the poet feel satisfied with a line? When something INSIDE tells him/her that it's just right, i.e. the unconscious.

To what extent this matters is another question. But all I would suggest is that you tread carefully with regard to assuming that when Frost wrote this he was conscious he was writing the blatantly sexual poem you have shown it to be.

D.....

[This message has been edited by D... (edited November 15, 2005).] 

         

M.......

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posted November 15, 2005 06:16 AM


Dear J. T.,
aaaYes, you have interpreted Frost's poem. You've decided on no evidence internal to the poem that the ladder is an erection and two-pronged because of two testicles. But such a construction would not have two prongs. So, from the beginning you skew things. Then, once you decide, based on nothing in the poem, that the apples are women, there is no more work to be done. You just substitute your words for those of the poem.
aaaRather than interpret, a reader who cared more about the poem than about his own ideas would analyze, would challenge his reading by reference to the poem.
aaaYou might, by taking the poem into account, arrive at the understanding you now have, but you will have done so by preforming a literary act -- that of engagement with literature. Or you might not. But what you've done isn't fair to the poem or to literary conversation. Since you say you improved your college grades by asking others what to think, you may have missed the lesson in how to read for yourself and in fruitful ways to struggle with how poems work.

Best,
M.....
 

         

J.T. Best
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posted November 15, 2005 12:22 PM


To: M..... and D.....

Your comments are well received. How would you describe the often touted "sexual connotations" attributed to the poem. I totally agree that Frost did not set out to write a poem laced in lust. But what I do truly believe is that it was a sexual mood that guided his pen. Sad people tend to write sad poems, happy people happy poems, the bizarre mind (Poe) the bizarre etc. To me applying my interpretative idea to the poem brings to vibrant life a poem that has always been otherwise described as difficult to interpret or bland. From now on you will never read that poem the same as you did before, the male mind will sway with the boughs and the women....well you tell me; chauvinistic disgust perhaps or maybe total denial of any sexual connotations. 

         

G............

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posted November 15, 2005 12:37 PM


J.T.,

The possibilities for this method of analysis are endless. Another Frost poem you could try it out on is “The Tree” (“But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed…”). Or what about those Birches?

And then you could try Yeats's “The Tower” - or how about “The Second Coming”? Wordsworth's “My heart leaps up…” (his heart, oh yeah…), Gray's Elegy (“Hands that the rod of Empire might have sway'd…”), Milton's “On His Blindness” (how did he go blind then, eh?)...

G...... 

         

C...........

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posted November 15, 2005 12:55 PM


"From now on you will never read that poem the same as you did before"

What a complacent and arrogant remark! 

           

J.T. Best
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posted November 15, 2005 01:31 PM


The "sex can apply to anything" argument has been the first to come my way. In that regard I was asked to interpret a Frost reading entitled "The Objection To Being Stepped On" which is reproduced below following my analysis. The point is that I too do not believe sex is an adjunct to most poetry, in fact with five books and over fifty articles, my analysis of "After Apple Picking" is the only one that contains the word "sex". It is a one off thing. So read on if you have a mind to.

I see two levels to "The Objection To Being Stepped On". The first is its overall simplistic presentation that was probably inspired by reality. Having lived on a farm in the hills of West Virginia back in the forties, I know all about the adversities from stepping on a prostrate hoe or rake. It is the second level that is revealing. "I dreamed I was a frog that dreamed he was a man and then woke up not knowing which he was". The poem cautions me to beware that things are not always as they appear. The simplest garden tool can be a weapon and once that dual (or multiple) use is discovered, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two in regards to which reality we are living in at the moment.

At the end of the row
I stepped on the toe
Of an unemployed hoe.
It rose in offense
And struck me a blow
In the seat of my sense.
It wasn’t to blame
But I called it a name.
And I must say it dealt
Me a blow that I felt
Like a malice prepense.
You may call me a fool,
But was there a rule
The weapon should be
Turned into a tool?
And what do we see?
The first tool I step on
Turned into a weapon. 
 

         

R...........

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posted November 16, 2005 01:35 PM


I have to agree with G..... What doesn't lend itself to sexual imagery? Sex is the universal metaphor, as Frost himself knew and talked about, albeit indirectly, in some of his essays. Much or most of what we think, say, and do has some sexual element, and in the right mood we find it mirrored in almost anything that quivers, penetrates, elongates, moistens, throbs, spurts... (When I was thirteen, even that list would have put me in a frenzy.) Of course great poems are about two (or more) things at once, and it isn't surprising when one (or both or all) of those things are indeed sex. But your approach seems like a literary scavenger hunt: Hmm, find something that is long, that sticks through or into something else, and that has some kind of two-ness associated with it...
RPW

 

         

H...........

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posted November 16, 2005 05:12 PM


Well, I think it’s a marvellously daring and brilliant analysis, J. T., especially the testicles as prongs. That convinces me.

A. F. Lascher’s unfashionable 2002 collection The Raincoat includes a little-known poem that some critics — rather improbably, to my perception — consider open to a similar reading.


When It’s Stiff and Strong

One feels so powerless when it’s limp and flaccid,
a soft and drooping, helpless little thing.
But when it’s hardened, stiffened up for service,
then what a sense of power it can bring!

Indeed, when firm and thrusting it can conquer
all resistance, breach the citadel.
It must be crystal-clear what I allude to:
I mean, of course, the individual will.
 

             

J.T. Best
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posted November 16, 2005 05:24 PM


In my mind you and G...... are only correct rhetorically but that universal logic will not stand against a true sexually orientated piece of literature which is what Apple Picking is all about. Your catchall rhetoric would work if the sex object in the Frost poem was limited to only the ladder as being the phallic symbol but where the entire writing lends itself to the sexual mood then deference must be paid to the overall picture. "I am over tired of the harvest I myself desired". Do you really think the connotation here is that Frost really couldn't wait until autumn so he could pick apples from a tree until he tired of it---gimme a break. And so it goes with all the other phrases, the innuendo is inescapable because nearly the entire poem lends itself more toward a sexual image than a day of picking apples in an orchard. Not on your life, when Frost was in that tree picking apples and saw the boughs bend and sway...it reminded him of something else...something more worth writing about than the limb of an apple tree. 

         

A............

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posted November 16, 2005 07:09 PM


J.T.: you're right, in a way, but you miss the whole point, in a much bigger way. Go back to Square One. There is a resonance between Frost's poem & sexual experience, but to reduce the poem to crude sexual symbolism impoverishes the poem. You need to be much subtler, more perceptive, to be able to talk about the sexuality of the poem intelligently.

H.....: I like the Lascher poem, but isn't it really about a banana? I detect a certain banana symbolism in it.

 

         

J.T. Best
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posted November 16, 2005 08:02 PM


Right lets go back to square one and revisit my preamble. It appears that I have run head on into that mainstream literary world I was talking about. Let me extend to all of you the same challenge that I have extended elsewhere to many and as of yet not a single person has even responded, let alone provided an analysis. That is this: OK, you point out and describe those sexual connotations that have been frequently ascribed to the Mr. Frost's Apple tale.  

         

J.T. Best
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posted November 17, 2005 02:59 AM


To: H...., R......, C...., G....., M......, D...... and A...
Relative to the topic at hand and within the spirit of heated debate and, of course, if you have time please go to: http://www.everyauthor.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=470 and read "Like any other morning". It is a short writing and please, please, please do not scroll to the bottom to access my comments until you have read the prose and formed an opinion relative to what it is all about. Once you have it sorted out then read the comments that follow with mine being last. If my guess is correct, all of you will miss the mark on this writing whereupon I want nothing short of pure unadulterated and humble sycophancy in return.
 

         

C...........

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Registered: May 2004

posted November 17, 2005 10:37 AM


I just read this ridiculous thread and all I can say is: Pish-posh, J.T. The "mainstream literary world"? This is a public bulletin board. The reason your analysis (I use the word loosely) has not been deemed publishable by anyone other than you has more to do with its poor quality than the academy's unwillingness to consider sexual content in Frost. In fact, if there's anything the academy has loved better in the last thirty years than detecting subversion in hoary middle-class favorites like Frost, I don't know what it is. However, despite the sensationalism and salacity of your thesis, you make your essay impossible to credit by (to name just a few):

* Wondering aloud if your whole argument is actually just a reflection of sickness and perversion in your own thinking. "Do I need therapy" is not a question that will garner the respect or even hold the interest of most people who are in a position to publish this sort of thing.

* Admitting in the first paragraph that, as a scholar of English literature, you couldn't quite crack the top four at Ball State. This admission doesn't exactly sell the reader on your expertise.

* Making generalizations which, aside from being crude and not quite grammatical, are unsupportable, e.g. "Every red-blooded womanizer on the face of the earth could recognize that line. The barrels he didn’t fill were all the women he really wanted to have sex with but just couldn’t make it happen."

* Your punctuation sucks.

I'm not even getting into the absurdity of your main claim. And no serious scholar would either, because your approach is so half-cocked (ahem) that there's just no reason to take your arguments seriously. Most people who are in a position to publish such things as this read better essays from undergraduates every day. Not only would many undergraduates have more, yes, penetrating things to say about Frost, but they would manage to do so without mangling the English language or treating the reader to the more lackluster parts of their CV.

The nail in this essay's coffin--and in your posts here--is that there is far too much J.T. Best and not nearly enough Frost.

And as far as answering your inane challenge: The burden of making your case is on you.

--C.. 

         

M.........

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posted November 17, 2005 11:42 AM


What C.. said. Both the thread and the web site are so silly that you want to cry. 

         

J.T. Best
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posted November 17, 2005 12:38 PM


It would be so much fun if I could put your pompous derrière on a witness stand and cross-examine your dogma for the literary world to see. I say that because when you are compelled to answer direct questions instead of spewing forth drivel then the going gets tough and the real level of intellect emerges and the facade left behind. And to a jury of your peers, my friend, not answering a question is a sure sign of ignorance or defeat. In that vein I want to point out that no questions of mine have yet been answered. I liken it to artist who only draw seascapes because if they drew anything someone could measure the scene against it would be a pathetic replica. That is where the art of cross examination comes into the picture. It is obvious that you visited the thread and failed the test miserably as, in advance, I predicted you would. And I am not reading any sexual connotations in your reply because you lack the skill to find them just as you lacked the ability to see the seedy sex in the thread. (For what it is worth I googled Clay Stockton and what an opinionated nobody he turned out to be) Cheers, J.T. Best

[This message has been edited by J.T. Best (edited November 17, 05).] 

         

R..........

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posted November 17, 2005 01:09 PM


But JT, C... and M...... would never qualify to serve on a jury of your peers, nor would you qualify to serve on theirs.

Apropos your amazing insights into Frost, I can only recall the immortal words of Tom Lehrer:

When correctly viewed,
everything is lewd.


Of course, you know that the reason Frost stopped in the woods on a snowy evening involved unspeakable acts with the horse, who thought it "queer."

And in "Death of a Hired Man," it's always been my theory that Mary and Silas had a little thing going on between them. How else to explain Warren's attitude? In fact, when Warren goes into the house and comes back to announce that Silas is dead, I've always suspected that Warren actually killed Silas in a jealous rage. Just examine the text. It's all there.

But if you want to find a truly smutty poet, have a look at early Wilbur and just about anything by George Herbert!

[This message has been edited by R... (edited November 17, 2005).] 

           

C..........

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posted November 17, 2005 01:21 PM


That your ad hom against me happens to be true does not take away from its being against the site rules. If you want to verbally abuse me, let me suggest you use the PM function to do so.

As to your gripe about not having your questions answered: In a court of law, silence might mean ignorance or defeat, but here where we actually are, on an internet bulletin board, silence means that you are asking questions that people don't deem worth answering.

--C..... 

quote:


Originally posted by J.T. Best:
It would be so much fun if I could put your pompous derrière on a witness stand and cross-examine your dogma for the literary world to see. I say that because when you are compelled to answer direct questions instead of spewing forth drivel then the going gets tough and the real level of intellect emerges and the facade left behind. And to a jury of your peers, my friend, not answering a question is a sure sign of ignorance or defeat. In that vein I want to point out that no questions of mine have yet been answered. I liken it to artist who only draw seascapes because if they drew anything someone could measure the scene against it would be a pathetic replica. That is where the art of cross examination comes into the picture. It is obvious that you visited the thread and failed the test miserably as, in advance, I predicted you would. And I am not reading any sexual connotations in your reply because you lack the skill to find them just as you lacked the ability to see the seedy sex in the thread. (For what it is worth I googled Clay Stockton and what an opinionated nobody he turned out to be) Cheers, J.T. Best



 

         

J.T. Best
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posted November 17, 2005 01:29 PM


I would not want them on a jury of my peers, I want them on the witness stand before a jury of their literary peers. I have lectured to trial lawyers all around the world on the art of cross-examination and one of my main points was that the more opinionated the witness the easier to lead them down the path of destruction.

 

         

R..........

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From:New York
Registered: Jun 2001

posted November 17, 2005 01:34 PM


But you must also knows that if the jury finds your direct testimony to be completely incredible, there is no need for cross examination and the well-trained lawyer will not bother. Your ridiculous notions about "Apple Picking" fall under their own weight and require no rebuttal. (Oops, you probably think "rebuttal" is a dirty word!)

 

           

J.T. Best
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posted November 17, 2005 01:36 PM


Clay said "As to your gripe about not having your questions answered: In a court of law, silence might mean ignorance or defeat, but here where we actually are, on an internet bulletin board, silence means that you are asking questions that people don't deem worth answering".

Sorting out the lavishly touted sexual connotations within the poetry of a classical poet like Robert Frost is deemed by yourself as not worthy of answering. Keep talking, the intellectual hole you are digging for yourself is getting deeper.

 

         

J.T. Best
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posted November 17, 2005 02:08 PM


Drat, I'm about to get thrown off of another literary forum for my views. As stated before I am a newbie to the forum concept and lack the experience to know where the line is that shouldn't be crossed. If I stepped over it then I want to truly apologize to those I have wronged. I guess it would be gauche of me to infer that another member's opinion isn't worth a shit when, in fact, it is.

 

         

R..........

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From:New York
Registered: Jun 2001

posted November 17, 2005 02:13 PM


I'd rather crawl into that hole than yours!

And I never said "[s]orting out the lavishly touted sexual connotations within the poetry of a classical poet like Robert Frost is . . . not worthy of answering." You're the one who refuses to discuss the sexual jealousy that led to the murder of the hired hand or the overtones of bestiality in the yellow wood!

You see, not every hair-brained theory is worth discussing. As you know because you are an internationally recognized expert on cross-examination, sometimes there is nothing to cross-examine and the wisest course is simply to say, "No questions." You haven't even made a prima facie case, so there's nothing for anyone to rebut or disprove.

 

           

J.T. Best
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From:New Zealand
Registered: Nov 2005

posted November 17, 2005 02:18 PM


The only time a skillful cross-examiner would not cross-examine a witness is where the witness has not said anything important to the liability aspects of the case. Otherwise to not cross-examine is the kiss of death because it ratifies the witness's testimony to the jury. And that little bit of free advise is apropos here in an indirect sort of a way.

 

         

R..........

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From:New York
Registered: Jun 2001

posted November 17, 2005 02:39 PM


quote:


Originally posted by J.T. Best:
The only time a skillful cross-examiner would not cross-examine a witness is where the witness has not said anything important ...


Exactly.


 

           

J.T. Best
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From:New Zealand
Registered: Nov 2005

posted November 17, 2005 03:21 PM


Exactly, lies, falsehoods, misrepresentations, poor credentials, lack of knowledge of the subject matter are all reasons to cross-examine a witness whose testimony appears be important, when in fact, it is not.

 

         

R...........

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From:Federal Way, Washington, USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted November 17, 2005 03:27 PM


J.T., it's clear that lots of people here think your ideas are goofy. The web is a big place and there must be sites where people can be presuaded to take your work seriously, but this ain't one of them.
RPW

 

         

H..........

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From:Georgia
Registered: Jun 2000

posted November 17, 2005 03:52 PM


Just to provide a single example of the poor logic at work in this essay:

"And there is a barrel that I didn’t fill. Every red-blooded womanizer on the face of the earth could recognize that line. The barrels he didn’t fill were all the women he really wanted to have sex with but just couldn’t make it happen. Beside it,…there may be two or three apples I did not pick upon some bough. These apples are specific women in his life and constitutes a special lot of women he could have had sex with, but by his own choice, did not."

This paragraph states clearly that (a) the barrel represents the women "he really wanted to have sex with but just couldn’t make it happen" and, contradictorily, that (b) the "apples I did not pick" represents the women "he could have had sex with, but by his own choice, did not." In other words, women he didn't have sex with are represented both by (a) the barrel and (b) the apples that aren't picked. This produces a logical inconsistency: women are inconsistently represented by the barrel and the unpicked apples. But the barrel holds apples, and apparently those apples in the barrel have no symbolic meaning at all here. This lack of such meaning on the part of apples in the barrel while apples out of the barrel supposedly have such symbolic meaning is inconsistent in terms of the pattern of symbolism you claim exists and is a flagrant error of the sort Frost was far too canny and self-conscious poet to have ever made. This kind of obvious logical error in thinking is precisely the sort of thing one finds regularly in the essays of inexperienced student writers whose enthusiasm outruns their ability to think clearly and logically; it's precisely the kind of "let me see if I can't wedge some of these details into a pattern" thinking that undercuts and invalidates the thesis as a whole.

[This message has been edited by H...... (edited November 17, 2005).]

         

J.T. Best
New Member

Posts: 14
From:New Zealand
Registered: Nov 2005

posted November 17, 2005 04:05 PM


Fair enough...regarding the sexual connotations within the Frost poem, my ideas are goofy and you don't have any...so...who wins?

[This message has been edited by J.T. Best (edited November 17, 2005).]

 

         

J.T. Best
New Member

Posts: 14
From:New Zealand
Registered: Nov 2005

posted November 17, 2005 04:11 PM


Freud and Darwin's theories were also goofy to their peers and while many aspects of their humble beginnings were inaccurate, it is their shoulders the present world now stands upon. However faulty my humble beginnings are, they are the start that no one else within the last century has even begun to undertake. Criticizing is easy, it is creating that is so difficult. Which category do you fit into?

[This message has been edited by J.T. Best (edited November 17, 2005).]

 

         

C..........

Member

Posts: 790
From:Berkeley, CA, USA
Registered: May 2004

posted November 17, 2005 04:18 PM


Haven't you heard, J.T.? We're all creationist Jungians around here. Flat-earthers, too. And, for good measure, why don't all the members join me in one good shout of "Give us Barabbas!"

I guess your brilliance is wasted on us.

--C....

quote:


Originally posted by J.T. Best:
Freud and Darwin's theories were also goofy to their peers and while many aspects of their humble beginnings were inaccurate, it is their shoulders the present world now stands upon. However faulty my humble beginnings are, they are the start that no one else within the last century has even begun to undertake. Criticizing is easy, it is creating that is so difficult. Which category do you fit into?


[This message has been edited by C.. (edited November 17, 2005).] 

         

C.........

Duchess/Administrator

Posts: 6130
From:Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted November 17, 2005 04:51 PM


Nobody wins. Nobody here is being cross-examined, J.T., and yet you seem to have cast the poetic community in the role of defendant or hostile witness because you've failed to prove your case to the satisfaction of others. Your question of how else we explain the oft-referred to existence of sexual connotation in Frost's work strikes me as comparable in technique to asking a witness "Have you stopped beating your wife? Your Honor, please direct the witness to answer yes or no."

I think this thread has run its course, so I'm locking it. Richard, please feel free to reopen the thread if you think it's a valid discussion, but to me it just seems to be an argument that's turned personal for lack of further pertinent literary or intellectual insight.

C.....
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoyed your essay, JT Best. I agreed and disagreed with much. I should start by saying that I don't understand the poem, and don't have a definite thesis as to its meaning.

I guess where I difer is that I see the literal level of the poem as more primary (but I've always been a very literal-minded person), with the hints at sexuality merely adding flavour: where you see symbolism, I see allusion, suggestion, connotation.

So for example, I agree that the ladder hints at virility, but not that it directly symbolizes, errhm, male genitalia. Certainly the redness and curvature of apples have sensual connotations, while ripeness as a metaphor for sexual coming of age is a familiar (even vulgar) figure of speech. As to the heady scent of ripe apples, the connection for me is more to fermentation and hence to bacchanalia, more than to the scent of women per se.

Having said all that, I'm going to re-read the poem and your essay again. You seem to be on to something, as your interpretation makes sense of the poem as a whole. And I may just be resistant to symbolic interpretations in general (being, as I said, of a literal turn of mind).
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: After Apple Picking Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post

Brian - Do you mind if I post your comments to the "After Apple Picking " Website? You are one of the very few to see what I was getting at i.e. a poem totality concept. Each individual item standing alone would hardly qualify as a sexual connotation but the entirety working together to me tells a different story. A story, I might add, that could be told many different ways but the end result or poetic picture would be the same.
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brian watson
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New postPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By all means!

By the way, I found a web site (can't remember the URL, but found it just by Googling the poem title) with a collection of essays about this poem alone, all written by acedemics or critics, and none of them, in my view, gave satisfactory interpretations of the poem. I mean half a dozen essays that seemed to me off the mark!
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