Frost's "After Apple Picking" displays a common thread used in many of his poems. The author alludes to grappling with his choices, just as a famous line in another poem does: "The woods are lovely dark and deep.....and miles to go before I sleep."
"After Apple Picking" focuses on the idea of and begs the question: at the end of the day (or road, or anything that is considered an ending including life), one wonders if he has done the best he can do, or perhaps he should have done more.
And this reflection, the common theme, involves his anxiety not over a job well done, but a nagging question that he: 1. could have done a better job, 2. that there are many apples left to pick, 3. there is an empty basket, which of course is a reminder that something is missing and that there is yet another task that should have been completed. And in a dream-like state somewhere between wakefulness and deep sleep-that moment when one reflects on the day- is the anxious notion he has not done enough:
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples that I didn't pick upon some bough
But I am done with apple picking now _(Poetry
Critics have stated that Frost's poems (and others) reflect an allusion to life itself. And the question that people are left with is, "Have I done enough," accompanied by the line, "I still have much to do to fill the empty basket."
Again, many of Frost's poems express the unsettling issue or notion, has one done enough or
is there still much to accomplish.