What are some examples of alliteration, personification, consonance, and assonance in the poem "After Apple-Picking" by Robert Frost?

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samcestmoi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds.  There are few obvious examples of this in “After Apple-Picking,” but there are several short examples. For one, the lines “No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble / Went surely to the cider-apple heap,” we have the repetition of an initial /s/ sound, with the words spiked, stubble, surely, and cider. In the line, “I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend,” boughs bend is an example of alliteration.

Personification is the assignation of human characteristics and feelings onto non-human things. There is little personification in this poem, but the mention that “The woodchuck could say” attributes an ability to speak to the woodland creature, and therefore this qualifies. In addition, when the speaker describes the apples as potentially being “bruised or spiked with stubble,” he is using adjectives commonly ascribed to humans—apples cannot truly be bruised, not do they grow hair meant to be shaved off, as humans can and do.

Consonance, not to be confused with alliteration, is the repetition of consonant sounds, no matter where the sounds are placed within a word. For example, in the line “There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,” there is repetition of /t/ sounds and /th/ sounds. In the first line, “My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree,” we have more examples of consonance, with many instances of both /t/ and /s/ sounds. And the final line of the poem, “Just some human sleep,” is consonance of /s/ sounds. In the line “I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough,” the /m/ sound repeats.

Assonance is similar to consonance, but is the repetition of vowel sounds, rather than consonants. Take the line, “Magnified apples appear and disappear.” Here we have a long series of short /a/ sounds. (This could also be an example of consonance, with the multiple /p/s in the line).  And when the speaker states, “…I am overtired/Of the great harvest I myself desired,” the repetition of long /i/ sounds is another example of assonance.

troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Assonance is "stem, end, and blossom end" with the repetition of the short "e" vowel sound.

Alliteration is "one can see what will trouble" with the repetition of the "w" sound beginning the words.

Personification is "The woodchuck could say whether it's like his Long sleep" with giving an animal human characteristics of talking/speaking.

And consonance is "But I was well Upon my way to sleep before it fell, And I could tell" because "well, fell and tell" all end in the same consonant sound.