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Analysis and comments on The Lockless Door by Robert Frost

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Comment 43 of 883, added on April 1st, 2006 at 1:06 AM.

This poem is very powerful, that affects you immediately after reading. I
decided only to read a few responses and compare them to my own response,
as they influence your own opinion into something that isn't your own. The
Lockless door definitely follows a being that has a deep fear, which is
possibly related to a past guilt that has affected him greatly over the
years. This can be demonstrated by systematically looking through the
poem. The first stanza could be seen as referring to a recollection (and
almost paranoia) of the past guilt, with the knocking at the door
representing the beating of his conscience. The Door commented in the
first stanza, having no "lock to lock” is the door to the guilt and fear
created by the past and that can never be "locked out".
The second stanza goes into how the narrator feels about the sudden
recurrence of guilt (and possibly remorse). It tells us of how the
narrator tries to “hide” from the knock at the door (his impending guilt)
and prays that it goes away. The Third stanza continues on, to tell us
that the guilt cannot disappear with a few wishes and prayers, and that the
narrator believes his only escape is through the “window”, which could be
seen as an escape from one’s current life and lifestyle, and descends to
the ground outside. The Fourth stanza tells of how the narrator decides
to, after leaving their current situation, to face the past guilt and fear
to try and absolve themselves.
Finally, the fourth stanza can be interpreted in a number of different
ways. Firstly, one could interpret that the narrator tries and escapes
from his guilt by running away from their problem, thus “emptying the
cage…(and) altering with age”. Secondly, it could be interpreted that
after the narrator asks the thing at the door, to “come in”, he faces the
fear and guilt and is able to join the rest of the world as an equal; i.e.
hiding in the world, and altering with age as well all do through life.
I personally believe that whatever has been met has been dealt with.
Therefore, the meaning of the words “So at a knock, I emptied my cage”
could be interpreted as; “all it took was a knock (wake up call) to allow
the narrator to empty their life/living (cage) of guilt”. The words
following “To hide in the world and alter with age” could have the meaning
of the narrator returning to the general world, and altering with age as
everyone else does.

Arjun.V from Australia
Comment 42 of 883, added on March 31st, 2006 at 9:27 PM.

This poem seems to be metaphor for someone's thoughts, feelings or fears.
The lockless door is the representation of those feelings because no one
can lock out fear or guilt.
The knock represents a a feeling or thought. (such as fear)
The line "In prayer to the door" could mean that the person in the poem is
begging the knock to go away.
The open window is a chance to escape from the thoughts.
The emptying of the cage seems to suggest the person ran away from their
fears rather than embraced it.

Another thought i had on the poem was:
The lockless door is death, you cant escape from death and hence cannot
lock it away.
"It went many years" This line could suggest the person has lived many
years,"But at last came a knock" could suggest the person is ready to die.
The prayer line could mean the person is asking not to die and the window
is a chance of escape.
"I bade a "come in" could represent the person's doubt about dying. but in
the next line the knock is still there. So i belived the person ran away
and "alter with age" (grow older perhaps?)

p.s Assume the subject of the poem is a person.

Danny from Australia
Comment 41 of 883, added on March 31st, 2006 at 7:16 PM.

The Lockless Door is basically about the speaker's personal fear of
society. The door having no lock implies certain vulnerability. Society is
urging him to come out. The way I see it, as in the first stanza, Frost had
been in the house, the cage, maybe for sometime. Perhaps he was lonely and
had been waiting for someone or something as company. In many ways, the
poem seemed to be telling me that it is about a person who has been
isolated for so long that he feared what is outside, the reality of life,
so he tends to stay in his house, the cage where everything is under his
control. When the knock came, it could be his inner self trying to wake him
up. After crawling through the window, the speaker has come out, but is
still somewhat safe. The end of the poem states that the speaker has
actually entered the surrounding society. The irony in this is that, even
though he has emerged from this smaller "cage", he has only entered a
larger one, one in which he will now hide in until he becomes more

Giang from Australia
Comment 40 of 883, added on March 31st, 2006 at 6:18 PM.

This is a very powerful poem. You can read it again and again and it still
has a new meaning each time. From the first line I knew there could be
multiple meanings but I still find new ones each time I see it, and they
all are correct interpretations.
The first stanza says the figure had waited, or hid, for many before
something came knocking.
In the second he’s hoping this thing will go away, but doesn’t want it to
know he’s there.
In the third he’s escaping out the window, trying to run from whoever it
By the forth stanza he’s made it to the ground but has a sort of nervous
curiosity, he climbs back up to sill and tells it to come in. He knows who
it is but not what it is.
In the final stanza he has run out in to world to hide and change.

Luke from Australia
Comment 39 of 883, added on March 30th, 2006 at 8:13 PM.

This is quite an interesting poem that can be quite ambiguous at times. The
poem already hits you as it begins with the lines “it went many years”
which can suggest that there was something done by the character many years
ago, possibly something that he cannot escape from, hence the title “the
lockless door.” “In prayer to the door” may suggest that the character is
praying for the event to pass by, hoping for a turn for the best. The
characters discovery of the window sill and climbing out of it hints that
the character wants to run away from the confrontation of the door knocker,
suggesting it’s a moment where the character does not want to be in. When
the character “bades a come in” this may mean that his conscience is
starting to tell him to confront this door knocker and settle it, although
still hanging on the window still as if he cannot decide whether to
confront or flee. With the knocking continuing the “ I emptied my cage, to
hide in the world and alter with age.” May suggest that the character has
fled from the confrontation with the door knocker and decides to hide from
it, waiting to disappear with age.

In all it is in my opinion that the character is in a situation where he
does not want to be in and decides to hide from the problem and waiting for
it to disappear with age or in time, although there is some hint that he
still wants to confront the problem having already fled from it.

Henry from Australia
Comment 38 of 883, added on March 29th, 2006 at 5:54 PM.

This poem seems to be presenting an imagery of the sense of fear that
surrounds the author when something comes to haunt him. This fear comes in
the form of a knock at the door. The author responds by blowing out a
candle in his room. and tiptoe-ing across the floor. This gives us a sense
of darkness and tension. you can just imagine the room being dark and
silent. This is the initial confrontation the author has with the knock.
At first, it seems like he is going to confront the fear. However, the
poem later mentions him "Climbed on the sill, and descended outside."

Marcus Wong from Australia
Comment 37 of 883, added on March 29th, 2006 at 5:54 PM.

i avidly dislike this poem!
a) because it is literay dribble
b) because it is too lose in its wording

when reading this poem two ideas came to mind, the first being the concept
of a repunzel based story, the lockless door holding her prisoner with the
witch holding her prisoner and the "come in" being said by the prince to
lure the witch in and kill her.

the other idea is one of a woman or man coming out and revealing himself as
a person. Initially i thought of a gay person coming out and asking for
acceptance by "bading come in." Again this poem is too open for discussion
too many gaps but the openess leaves room for imagination

bart from Australia
Comment 36 of 883, added on March 29th, 2006 at 5:47 PM.

I believe the comment to be about escaping the grasp of someone who may be
abusing the subject of the poem. In this case either a small boy or child,
whos father is approaching. After the knock on the door he prays that it is
not his father, but on the second knock, he flees to the window, where he
climbs out and then calls his father into the room. The distraction of
having to enter the room to search for the boy gives him a small head start
on his escape into the world. He flees out the window of his "cage" and
into the world to "alter with age".

Dave from Australia
Comment 35 of 883, added on March 29th, 2006 at 5:50 PM.

I'd like to answer this question with another question. Could god microwave
a burito so hot that not even he could eat it?

Chris from Chile
Comment 34 of 883, added on March 29th, 2006 at 5:44 PM.

i reckon its about death and the average persons' natural resistance, and
yet natural curiosity, about death. climbing out of the sill represents the
resistance, or fear, of death. However, coming back in represents the
curiosity of every person about dying. in the end, i think the person
decided that his cuirosity was not going to kill him, and even though he
lived out his life growing old and changing, death will come to him as it
comes to us all.

Denholm from Australia

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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: 32365 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 24 2002

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