Analyze a literary device–most likely an image or metaphor–or series of devices you find in Plato, Sappho, or Catullus.
as the sweetapple reddens on a high branch / high on the highest branch and the applepickers forgot – no, not forgot: were unable to reach
Sappho, Fragment 105A
In this fragmented remnant of one of her lyrical love poems, Sappho employs a simile to compare an unspecified figure to a sweetapple ripening on a difficult-to-reach branch of a tall fruit tree. It can be inferred that the sweetapple represents a virginal young woman, a picture of femininity coming of age (hence the “redden”-ing or ripening imagery), who is beginning to attract the eye of suitors who are watching her maturing beauty unfold. These lines read more of desire and lust than of pure love; the applepickers know that the sweetapple is far from their clutches but nonetheless yearn for it. Still, they are unwilling to strive to reach out for her. Rather, that additional attempt will be made by a romantic hero, the man who truly loves her enough to exert the extra effort necessary to reach the top branches. There is a lack of true sentiment here, as the comparison of a woman to a sweetapple brings to mind images of consumption (or, in this case, consummation) and, inevitably, once the apple is freed from its position at the top of the tree, it is free to be eaten at the whim of the applepicker. Additionally, the “picking” of a fruit off a branch symbolically makes a connection to the concept of being “chosen” or “claimed” by a suitor; a sweetapple is immovable without an outside party acting upon it, just as the reddening, blushing young virgin patiently awaits a fearless, far-reaching suitor to be the catalyst for change in her romantic life.