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Analysis and comments on The Lockless Door by Robert Frost

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Comment 68 of 898, added on April 5th, 2006 at 12:17 PM.

The lines in this poem that I keep rereading are in the last quatrain: "To
hide in the world/And alter with age." This passage seems existantial to
me: "hide in the world" gives a sense of anxiety and alienation, and
simultaniously "alter with age" shows an explicit consciousness of
existance. If I had just seen this one line, I might have thought it was
Ralph Ellison and not Frost.

The speaker knows he must open the door and face whatever is behind it, but
yet he seems resigned to be broken by it... to still exist, but not to
thrive. I can see where some read depression out of this, but the word
choice makes me disagree: "alter" is a very sterile word, unlike the
descriptive prose of the first stanzas; he's not "flourishing" with age or
"whithering" with age, but rather age is simply changing him, almost

My impression upon first reading this poem was that he was talking about
growing up and leaving a carefree childhood for, but that also don't seem
quite right to me. (Nor does it fit in with Frost's norm. I realize and
agree that it is a fallacy to analyze one idependant work in the context of
others or the author's life. But I just did, so sue me).

N from United States
Comment 67 of 898, added on April 4th, 2006 at 6:39 AM.

Jinn, i find your comments on the poem, especially about the first stanza,
to be very confusing... of course the poem was based in the past, or at
least started in the past, as we can see by the first line "it went many
years"... you are trying to read what isn't there. You also assume that
frost is talking about himself - he may be talking about someone else in
the first-person for the sake of the poem. Again with your comments on the
second stanza, you try to read metaphorical senses into lines that just
aren't there - and even if blowing out the light is a metaphor, i highly
doubt it would be a metaphor for getting rid of the "good"... why would
that help anything?? Also your wording is very confusing, destroying what
little meaning you have rightly wrung out of the poem. I would also like to
meet the person for how jumping onto a sill requires no effort at all, and
i would also like to meet the person who makes all window sills the same
size (size small). In future, i suggest you do not try to think too hard
about poems, and just let your natural instinct take over when
commenting... also try not to confuse the issue by repeating the same
sentence three times.

Denholm & Mackie from Australia
Comment 66 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 7:23 PM.

I'm not sure whether Richard and Bart know exactly what a metaphysical poem
is. In fact the poem has some of the features of a metaphysical poem, one
of them being that it is an extended metaphor. So there.

Nick and the Smookernator from Saint Vincent and the Grenadin
Comment 65 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 7:19 PM.

i think that the person in the poem was a child who was hiding in his room.
the person knocking on the door may have been a parent looking for him, and
he was frightened because he thought his parents might punish him. when he
jumped out the window, he was waiting to decide whether he should run away
or not, and he may have run away depending on whether his parents were
angry at him. in conclusion, i disenjoyed this poem immensly.

richie rich from Chile
Comment 64 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 7:20 PM.

In response to Luke's comment, we think its agreeable.
However, it is lacking passion in his post.

team.random from Mongolia
Comment 63 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 7:12 PM.

In reply to Oprah Chalk-Hatten, are you related to Oprah Winfrey?
So totally OMG, this poem is so totally...totally. LOL!
I absolutely agree with your interpretation of the poem. I believe the poem
explains the metaphorical surrounding of a persons mind...bell went...too

Giang Cao from Uruguay
Comment 62 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 7:14 PM.

Jinn, you honestly do not know what you are talking about. It is as if you
were asked to write an essay in some English class. It was not necessary to
write so much about one poem. You need to learn to be more concise. Maybe
you are not too good at expressing yourself, hence needing to write a
thesis on a poem 5 stanzas long.

Anyway, more onto your content. In your first paragraph, you speak of the
way the lockless door is something of the past. You write "“And I thought
of the door”. This line can be interpreted as this lockless door was
something of the past." Clearly the line before it "It went many years"
shows this and you don’t need to be so metaphorical and deep. It is
obviously stated, you dont need to think so hard about it.

The one positive thing about your thesis is the part about the way you put
a tense on the third and fourth stanzas and state that the last stanza is a
conclusion. Most people in this forum agree that the last stanza is
probably the hardest to interpret but stating it as a conclusion makes it a
little easier.

However, alot of the language in this response is quite jumbled and hard to
understand. Sometimes you use the word "metaphor" too easily, such as in
the paragraph about the fourth stanza, where it is written "metaphorically"
where no metaphor is actually stated in the stanza at all. Content wise,
the entire thesis could have been shortened to around 300 words and been
just as effective.

Finally, to the good parts of this response. It is obvious that Jinn has
put a large amount of effort into this response and has included great
detail on his own opinions, some of which I agree with fully. For example,
the paragraph on the fourth stanza; when Jinn states “Back over the sill”;
if taken literally we assume that he gets back over the window, he then
greets the knocker but then says he doesn’t’ know what was at the door”,
which I believe similarly; i.e. that the thing at the door was unknown, and
it was this unknown that he feared. Generally the content is quite
meaningful, and expresses Jinn's opinions however confusing they may be

Overall Jinn’s efforts were definitely there, however the clarity is not,
thus an average grade could only be given to this piece. Good try, better
luck next time.

Chalky and Visa from Australia
Comment 61 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 7:14 PM.

Arjun's comment is well structured and mighty awesome. He anaylses the poem
to great length and really finds the meaning of the poem. This is done by
systematically analysing each stanza. Furthermore, he is able to link a
similar meaning from each stanza that works towards the idea of someone who
is living a life of guilt, and remorse, after years of hiding or running
away from it. Best of all, he gives his own personal opinion in his last
paragraph. This gives an insightful view to one other than mine and James'.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Arjun V.'s comment from Australia. What a
coincidence, we're from Australia too.

Marcus and James from Australia
Comment 60 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 8:37 AM.

This poem can be interpreted in many ways, i choose the one of depression.
It is quite obvious in this poem that the author is subjected to fear and
uncertainty, perhaps its death? we dont know. "And i thought of a door,
with no lock to lock" this shows that there is a oppotunity present,
although he chooses neither to go through it, or enclose it. "i blew the
light, i tip toed the floor" this shows the author is taking caution in
what he is doing, perhaps its fear of someone or something. " i emptied my
cage" this could symbolise his exiting from his enclosure. This may be when
he decides to face reality, but im my opinion i do not think so, i think
that he leaves one enclosure for another. One much more deep and secrative,
the author has not illustrated any evidence that he has decided to return
to the outter world. I think this poem is a reflection of Frost's life,
perhaps its him in the present or past, perhaps he lost a family member and
it inspired him to write this poem. There are endless possiblities as this
is poetry there is no single correct reply for its analysis.

Philip M. from Australia
Comment 59 of 898, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 6:23 AM.

“The Lockless Door” by Robert Frost paints a picture of a man trapped
within the confines of his own mind; represented by a room with a door that
has no lock, hiding from an unnamed terror.

The poem begins after “many years” have passed, perhaps after the important
experience on which the poem hinges. The speaker hears a knock which
reminds him “of the door/ With no lock to lock”. If the door is his mind or
conscience then what is this terror seeking entry? Whatever it is strikes a
great fear into the speaker who continues; “I blew out the light, / I
tiptoed the floor, / And raised both hands in prayer to the door”. The
extinguishing of the light and the tiptoeing to the door establish a tone
of dread and secrecy; the speaker would give anything not to have to face
the terror behind the door so he retreats further behind darkness and
silence. The prayer is a desperate entreaty to a higher power for the
terror to go away.

The gap between the first and second stanza give the briefest of pauses in
which we are left to wonder whether the speaker has been successful. “But
the knock came again” to confirm his worst fears and the speaker is forced
to assume another hiding position from beneath his windowsill. It is
interesting that the speaker doesn’t flee outright then but instead bids
the nameless thing “come in”. Despite his fears the speaker does not yet
have more than an idea what the thing might be and perhaps it is curiosity
which explains this “come in”.

The last stanza is the most important and the most open to interpretation.
“So at a knock I emptied my cage” could mean that the speaker has either
confronted his fears with his invitation for the thing enter in the last
stanza or perhaps that he has abandoned his confinement. He resolves “to
hide in the world / And alter with age” meaning perhaps that he stops
living in fear of the thing at his door and gets back to his life.

Nick Ross from Saint Vincent and the Grenadin

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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: 34233 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 24 2002

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