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Analysis and comments on The Lockless Door by Robert Frost

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Comment 53 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:37 PM.

sometime. Perhaps he was isolated and had been waiting for someone or
something as sharemarket. In many ways, the poem seemed to be telling me
that it is about a human who has been on his.her own for so long that he
was scared of what is outside, the reality of life, so he tends to stay in
his unit, the cage where most things is under his control. When the knock
came, it could be his internal self trying to wake him up. After sneaking
through the window, the speaker has come out, but is still somewhat safe.
The end of the poem proclaims that the speaker has actually entered the
surrounding community. The irony in this is that, even though he has gone
up from this tiny "cage", he has only entered a bigger one, one in which he
will now dissapear in until he becomes more comfortable.


Oprah Chalk-Hatten from Faroe Islands
Comment 52 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:31 PM.

this poem although not to the standard of the metaphysical poets like donne
and marvel, strikes the mind and asks us for a multi levelled

this "knocking," this lockless door is a poosible past memory or incident
that has come back to haunt him or continues too. Memories of war and "foul
deeds" are things that come too mind. This knocking is a perseverance of
the memory in an attempt to adress the problem, and by asking "come in" it
is an attempt, although "I climbed on the sill
And descended outside.
Back over the sill, showing a conservative and or scared response to what
may happen by letting this memory in he shows at best a desire to address
this problem. Again this may be one response of many within this building
of a poem.

bart from Australia
Comment 51 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:29 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."
From outside, he "bade" a come in. This imagery helps to show the author's
uncertainty or fear of what is to come if the door was opened. In an
ironic sense, the author is inviting something in which he does not
actually want in. The last stanza is rather confusing. It took a while
for me to have my own interpretation of what it really meant. "Emptying
his cage" is an interesting imagery. Firstly, the author confronts the
fear knocking at the door. This results in the "emptying" bit. But what
most readers miss is that he empties his cage, but he does not actually get
out of it. So in an ironic sense, the author believes he has confronted
and faced his fears. But realistically, he is still trapped in the world
of fear and uncertainty. The cage is empty, but he's still in it.

Marcus Wong from Australia
Comment 50 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:25 PM.

Even though there are many interpretations of the Lockless door, to me is a
poem of a person being scared to grow up to a person’s expectation but he
also knows it was inevitable. He has been waiting for it for many years and
he refers in the first stanza about the door. His room could have been a
sanctuary for him over the past couple of years but with the room having a
lockless door, he knew he would be called upon and cannot be avoided.

He blows out his light so he thinks he can hide in his darkness and by
tiptoeing he still wants to stay in his room. He prays so that the knock
might have been a mistake but the knock comes again. He is then faced with
a decision to face it or runaway. Here he knows he does not want to live up
to this person’s expectation but he wants to live by his decisions. He runs
away out of the window but he calls the person to come in once his out the
window. I think he does this out of respect to the person because he does
not want to keep the person there waiting and I think it’s also a way of
saying sorry, sorry because he has to run away.

I think Frost wanted to express that every individual should live their own
lives and not be left to a person of higher authority e.g. the person
behind the door. The lockless door can mean that in life we are not locked
into anything, nothing is predetermined for us and we can control our lives
to open doors to other paths. However in the poem I think the person was
being controlled so he had to find another way to open doors and that was
through the window. The end of the poem suggests, the person left his
sanctuary and grew up in the real world and also that he lived a long life.

donguyen from Australia
Comment 49 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:10 PM.

I think that this poem is about the character trying to escape the
inevitable death. Llamas like cheese

Matt.S from Australia
Comment 48 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:05 PM.

I think that this poem is about him growing old and trying to escape the
inevitable death. Llamas like cheese.

Matt.S from Australia
Comment 47 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 3:43 PM.

Frost's 'The Lockless Door' flows well and can be interpreted very
Re-reading each line gives a new meaning up until the final stanza. The
stanza turns the entire meaning of the poem on its head.

At first, the speaker seems to be in a room. The room symbolises his own
fear of
something. The knocking on the door may be a reminder of his constant
However he can't bring himself to answer it, or to conquer his fear.

In the second stanza, he tries to make it look like he isn't there. He
to his fear yet again. He 'raised both hands in prayer to the door'. This
shows that even after all this time, the fear still has power over him.

When he looks out the window, it suggests that he can finally beat his
fear. He takes a step forward and has a look at what might happen if he
just answers the knock. He climbs back into the window and decides to
answer the knock.

The final stanza suggests that once he re-enters the room, the answers the
door. Because of this, he is finally free of his fear. ‘To hide in the
world’, he is able to be normal again and blend in. He can ‘alter with
age’, meaning he can grow old in peace and without this fear.

James Banh from Australia
Comment 46 of 893, added on April 1st, 2006 at 9:42 PM.

This poem is very interesting in the way it can move you and make you draw
upon different conclusions every time you read it. After reading the poem
many times I am still unsure as to what the poem really means as the poem
is quite ambiguous. My general understanding of the poem is that the
character in the poem is hiding from something that he has been hiding from
for many years as in the poem “It went many years”. “But at last came a
knock” is suggesting that whatever the character was hiding from has
finally come back to haunt him. The second stanza suggests that the
character is afraid of this thing he has been hiding from that is at the
door so he “blew out the light and tip-toed the floor”. “And raised both
hands in prayer to the door” means that the character is praying that
whatever it is would just go away and leave him alone. When the knock comes
again in the third stanza, the character finds a window and tries to escape
from the thing at the door, but then he comes back to perhaps face his
fears and meet this thing he has been hiding from. But when the knock comes
again, I believe the character becomes fearful once again and so escapes to
hide in the world.

Will L. from Australia
Comment 45 of 893, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 12:08 AM.

Not only is this poem rhythmic and flowing, but the contents of it are
thoughtful and influencing. Many conclusions and ideas of what Frost was
thinking of can be drawn from this poem, and I still am not sure which one
is the most accurate.
In the first stanza, we come to realization that many years had past before
a “knock” on the lockless door came. However, some may not notice the part
“And I thought of the door”. This line can be interpreted as this lockless
door was something of the past, and frost is about to tell a story. So if
we look at the first stanza again, it can possibly mean that many years
past, and then came a knock on my door, which triggered me to think of my
old door with no lock to lock. Then we look at the metaphorical meanings of
the words, which may perhaps be metaphorical, or possibly not. For if there
was a knock on the door now, that made have triggered frost to think of the
story, but this knock may not be the same “knock” that he refers to in the
story he tells.
Now the second third and fourth stanzas can be accepted as being told as a
story of the past. And the fifth would be the conclusion, a sort of side
note from the writer.

The story begins with Frost referring to himself as I, blowing out the
candle light, tip-toeing across the floor, and then giving a prayer to the
“lockless door”. We can accept that this is the actual event, or we can
delve deeper into these English words and pull out a metaphorical meaning
from this stanza. Blowing out the light could be possibly resembled ridding
the “good” of himself, as in perhaps doing something against the law. Light
can be assumed as “good”, as the dark can be seen as “evil. Tip-toeing
across the floor, may be understood as him doing something secretly not
wanting to be heard, and seen for that matter if we think of the light as
actual light as well. To raise both hands in a prayer, can be excusing
himself, with two hands up to show his innocence and also a prayer to the
“lockless door”. But then what is this lockless door we speak of, and
perhaps the prayer may have been to the first knock, which is the implied
knock which Frost brings in by saying he thought about the door.

So the mysterious “knock” comes again in the third stanza. A window and we
automatically assume that he is inside a room with only a door and window.
This window is open wide, and He climbs onto the sill before exiting. Again
we can take this information as the actual story, or break it down to turn
it into something different. Firstly, he says “My window” this can be taken
as he was in his room, or it can also be taken after reading the later
lines, as his escape out of not a room, but of confinement. So his escape
was wide, wide being it was a good opportunity to take to escape from his
confinement. Normally people aren’t able to climb onto a window sill being
so small, and also, why does he specify climbing onto the sill? Climbing
onto something usually takes effort so we can assume that he is using some
effort to get to this “sill” which can be inferred as a midpoint of escape.
To descend outside from a window is not that easy. It is possible that he
was high up and also he describes it as a seemingly easy task. So maybe he
had an easy time getting out of this confinement. Outside can be of many
meanings, with it being literal or simply his own guilty conscience.

The fourth stanza can get rather confusing, as he says “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 the door,
we understand then that maybe he didn’t go back in at all, instead part of
him goes back not the conscious part but a sense, which then greets
whatever was at the door, but Frost himself is no longer inside. However,
taking it one more step further into the metaphorical sense we see it as.
He retreats back into his confinement and tells the “knocker” to “come in”.
This makes us assume that perhaps this knocker is a fear of Frost’s and he
is trying to come back to face it, but in the next line it seems he never
faced it. Perhaps this knock could be anything at all, as “whatever” may
mean that Frost himself didn’t know what was to take place, and he simply
wasn’t sure about it.

Then the conclusion comes which can be taken as a message from Frost.
Interpreting this we see that this knock that happened emptied his cage,
cage being possibly his room, or his mind, or his confined situation. He
then hides in the world, world being either literal, society itself, or in
the rest of his mind. Alter can mean changed as in change of himself, with
experience due to age, or it can be simply ageing on. Looking at it again,
we can see that he was able to escape the unfortunate experience which he
had, and managed to grow old. And we can link this ageing with the first
stanza where he says “it went many years”, for that also means that he is
an old person.

So now we have to figure out what this knock and this lockless door could
have been. Either a person or an abstract event or feeling, the knock did
not open this lockless door. A lockless door means that the door cannot be
secured shut but it can be closed and opened. Then why did the entity which
knocked not simply come in? Or perhaps this door was opened in the first
place, and the entity which knocked did not want to come in.

Jinn K. from Australia
Comment 44 of 893, added on April 1st, 2006 at 6:07 AM.

The Lockless Door, a Robert Frost poem, has a metaphorical meaning.
Rhyming every second line in the pattern of ABCB, it gives the poem rhythm
and flow. The poem also has beat that is much like an iambic pentameter.
This again gives the poem a rhythm, but also sets a relaxing pace for the
poem to be read. The five stanzas – each with four lines – depict an image
of someone who has some sort of guilt or something to fear. The first
stanza reveals the past guilt has resurfaced after “many years” of waiting
and hiding. The knock on the door is like the beating of his conscience.
The door with no lock signifies that his guilt cannot be forgotten and it
will come back to haunt him. In the second stanza, when he blows out the
light and tiptoes the floor, it shows that he does not want to reveal his
presence. When he prays to the door, he is begging that his guilty
conscience will just leave him alone. When the knock comes again in the
third stanza, he realises that his guilt will not leave and seeks a way to
escape. He finds that a “window” is his only means of escape and goes upon
that path. However, in the forth stanza, he is uncertain of whether the
path he has chosen is the right one. He knows he will have to face his
conscience one day and “bade [his conscience] a ‘Come in’”. However, he is
still outside the window and is unsure if he should face it or flee from
it. The fifth and final stanza does not provide a definite conclusion for
this poem. I believe that he has fled from his conscience once again “to
hide in the world”. He “emptied his cage” which shows that he has left his
refuge. However, it could also give the alternative meaning. He may have
gone back in and faced his conscience and emptied his cage of guilt. He
then hides “in the world and alter with age”, becoming like everyone else,
his guilt becoming a thing of the past.

Andrew 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: 33913 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 24 2002

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