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Analysis and comments on The Lockless Door by Robert Frost

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Comment 26 of 856, added on December 3rd, 2005 at 5:39 PM.

what book is the poem from


pooper from United States
Comment 25 of 856, added on November 27th, 2005 at 8:33 PM.

I had to choose a poem to explicate for my creative writing class unit on
poetry. I chose the lockless door because it intrigued me. i initially
had no idea what it was about but by reading other's interpretations of it
and making my own conclusions, i decided that it is about a past event that
comes back to haunt him. That is the knock and the author had evaded said
event for a long time but with the door, being his conscience, being a
lockless door, it is impossible to keep intruders out. When Frost says he
blew out the light and tiptoed, he was trying to hide and sneak away from
this haunting event. WHen he raises his hands in prayer to the door, he is
begging the door to keep the haunting thing away for just a moment longer
while he tries to escape. The knock coming again is a sign that he cannot
hide from it and when he climbs out the window he is either still trying to
escape the knock or he is making recompense for whatever it was. When he
climbs back over the sill and invites the knocker in he is saying that now
that i know what i am up against, i can face it head-on. In conclusion he
states that when the reminder of his past came, he opened himself, became
vulnerable and as the result he was able to over come this haunting part of
his past and in turn blend in with the world and move on with his life.

Alexis from United States
Comment 24 of 856, added on October 3rd, 2005 at 9:40 PM.

This poem can be looked at from many different angles, each making this
poem look like it’s centered around fairly different topics or parts of
life. The morale of the poem could be of guilt, or bad memories and a
tragedy, or about friends and even romance. It is very probable that Robert
intended for his poem to be looked at from various different angles. For
the purpose of being able to finish writing this sometime this century, I
will take on the guilt angle.
So, if we assume that this poem is centered on guilt, than, in the first
stanza, the first line could mean that it had been many years since the
thing which had made him feel guilty had happened. The knock on the door is
his conscience, irritating his mind and making him feel guilty and
reminding him of his wrongdoing. The “knocking” is somewhat polite, and so
he is just annoyed at it. If it were a hammering instead of a knocking on
the door, he would be feeling more nervous that annoyed, almost scared. The
“at last” part of this poem means that his guilt has finally caught up with
him. When he says “and I thought of the door with no lock to lock” he means
that it was inevitable that he would feel guilty, it would reach him no
matter what because the door to his conscience is unlocked. This stanza
contains the repetition of the word “lock”, which emphasizes the fact that
the guilt has finally reached his conscience, with the “door” a
metaphorical entrance to his conscience.
In the second stanza, where he says that he blew out the light, that could
mean that he is trying to hide from his conscience. The fact that he is
“tip-toeing” proves this fact. The “raising of both his hands in prayer to
the door” is a prayer that, hopefully, the door will stay closed and he
won’t feel the pain of guilt.
The third stanza shows that his prayer didn’t work, and the guilt is still
trying to come in. he says that his window was wide because it was a
beckoning exit from his guilty conscience. At this point in the poem, he
starts trying to do something about this, so after finding this “window”,
the metaphorical exit, or way around his guilt (the opposite of the door)
he tries to break free of it. This may also mean repentance of the sin that
caused his guilt. His “descending outside” means that he succeeded in
avoiding the guilt, at least temporarily.
For the fourth stanza, the term “back over the sill” would mean looking
back to the past, at his guilty conscience. Now, the rest of this stanza
could take on two different meanings. For the first one, let us assume that
the guilt is like a person knocking on the door to this person’s house. One
is that he is bidding the guilt to come into an empty home, where he has
just escaped from, so the guilt enters the house, but he is not there, he
is outside the window. He could be either mocking the guilt from outside
the house because it expected someone to be there and the house is empty,
or he could be buying time for him to escape from the guilt. The second,
and deeper meaning is rather different. It is that he accepts the guilt
from afar rather hesitantly, because he finally realizes that he cannot run
from his guilty conscience forever, but he is still a little uncertain of
accepting his sin/actions. The last two lines of this stanza takes on two
meanings. The words “whatever the knock at the door may have been” means
that he doesn’t know how he will feel after accepting the guilt, and the
second meaning or use of these words are, as I said before, to let the
reader look at this poem from a variety of angles, the “guilt” on of which
I have taken up
The fifth and last stanza is a conclusion to the poem, and is probably the
most difficult to interpret. It means that the “knock” (which could be
something that reminded him of his guilt which he had evaded for so long)
caused him to empty his “cage” of guilt, pain and remembrance from his sin,
by forcing him to “climb out the window”. The last two lines of the poem
require much thought, because it raises questions like; ‘why would he hide
if he has accepted his guilt?’(third line) or ‘why would he alter with
age?’(fourth line). There are two answers to the first question, depending
on how you interpreted the part of the poem where he “bade come in” to
whatever was knocking on the door. If you interpreted that part of the poem
as him repenting his sin, answer is that he is not hiding as you would
think; due to shame, fear, etc. of the sin that he has committed, but he is
hiding from more sins and more guilt that could attack his conscience like
before. If you thought that part of the poem meant that he has hiding
outside the house from the guilt, the answer is simple; that he is still
hiding from his guilt, although it’s inevitable (this angle makes him look
foolish). The answer to the second question is that he would alter with age
because these sorts of emotions are inevitable, and the experiences of such
emotions would change him as he grows older.
thanks!

konrad from Australia
Comment 23 of 856, added on July 1st, 2005 at 2:24 PM.

Frost occassionally wrote on Christian themes, and the "alter with age"
ending suggest that this may be such a work. He goes for many years,
perhaps dreading a divine call. When it finally comes, he is forced to have
to deal with it. That knock offers a promise of eternity, but he is afraid
that answering it involves commitment, risk, and involvement with the
unknown. So he answers only tentatively, from outside the window. Because
it lacks conviction, his answer is found to be wanting. So he ends up
rejecting the call and living out a natural life without God.

Herb from United States
Comment 22 of 856, added on June 11th, 2005 at 6:08 PM.

I wanted to read everybody's comments to try and form my own opinion for a
paper I'm writing, and actually, it worked. I think this poem is about
feeling guilty. The knocking on the door is your conscience, pounding on
your thoughts, reminding you of your sin. When he blows out the candle, he
is trying to hide, to escape, thinking that if he is no longer visible,
then the knock will go away, he yearns to be alone and in peace. But, the
knocking continues, his last attempt is to escapew through the window, to
break free, he finally realizes that there is hope, he is outside of his
cage, he seeks repentance, the void is filled.

Lindsay from United States
Comment 21 of 856, added on June 1st, 2005 at 5:52 PM.

I think this poem is about him having someone that wants to be his friend
or something but he dose not want to let them in evan though he says they
can come in he dosent let them

Zak from United States
Comment 20 of 856, added on May 30th, 2005 at 1:25 PM.

i like this poem a lot it is awesome ('_')

zak from United States
Comment 19 of 856, added on April 28th, 2005 at 7:50 PM.

I think that this poem was about someone who had experienced a tragedy.
When something happens in your life,let's say a death of a loved one,
everyday you wake up and wonder if you are still going to feel the same
pain and want so badly for it to be over. When the knock finally came, he
had been praying that someday he would be ready to let go of "his cage" of
pain."To hide in the world and alter with age", he wants to just blend into
the world and not carry the weight of this tragedy. The "alter" is how the
experience will change him as he grows older.

Shauna from United States
Comment 18 of 856, added on April 21st, 2005 at 4:22 PM.

i liked the poem i truley did i hope to some day be wright with words like
this and my last name is also frost that is so cool!

c.j. from United States
Comment 17 of 856, added on April 19th, 2005 at 9:32 PM.

frost poety relects the anger and the fear of someone leaving you alone for
many years which brings people to grief.

sam from United States

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Information about The Lockless Door

Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: 44. The Lockless Door
Volume: New Hampshire
Year: 1923
Added: Feb 1 2004
Viewed: 31290 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 24 2002


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