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Analysis and comments on The Lockless Door by Robert Frost

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Comment 60 of 900, 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 900, 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
Comment 58 of 900, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 5:05 AM.

Luke’s poem analysis is correct in highlighting that Frost’s poem can and
does have multiple interpretations. However, it seems that the response
from Luke is lacking detail or emphasis on any particular aspect of the
poem. Unfortunately, I disagree with the idea that the figure in the first
stanza was hiding, instead it seems that the figure was simply waiting. If
the figure was hiding, it would seem that hiding behind a lockless door is
not the most ideal place to hide. I agree with Luke on his insight into
the second and third stanza, however, again the insight is too broad.
Such a broad insight and analysis really doesn’t offer the understanding
that could be shown if Luke perhaps mentioned the significance of praying
to the door and perhaps these were prayers to God. I disagree with Luke’s
analysis of the fourth stanza. Initially it is difficult to even
understand exactly what Luke means when he describes the fourth stanza.
The poem does not clearly show that the subject understand “who” the knock
is from, where as Luke suggests the subject “knows who it is”. Using the
term “whatever” clearly dissociates the “knock” as potentially being
anything. Overall Luke offers a broad prospective of the poem, to offer
only an overview of what the poem may be about. Overall though, it is
ineffective as being an analysis.

donguyen from Australia
Comment 57 of 900, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:40 PM.

This comment in my opinion is quite meaningful, and very understandable,
however, there are some narrow thoughts made by Luke which I would like to
help clear up.
Firstly, He states the figure had hid for many, before something came
knocking. How do you know that he actually hid or was actually waiting for
someone to come to knock on that door?
In the second, you state that he is hoping this thing will go away, but how
do you know that Frost is really wanting this thing to go away, maybe he is
simply too afraid to face it? Have you ever considered that?
In the third, where you say he is escaping out of the window, trying to run
away from. How do you support that he is actually escaping? And out of a
window? You think of it too literally, and perhaps you have not considered
the metaphorical meanings in these words. Is he running from someone? I
think not. He could possibly be running away form himself. His own fears
and thoughts.
You say he makes it to the ground.... it doesn't say he makes it to any
ground, it merely states that he descends outside, there are many things to
In the final stanza you can not be exactly sure that he has run out into
the world to hide and change. He may be simply living life without the
entity of the knock bothering him.

Danny and Jinn from Australia
Comment 56 of 900, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:38 PM.

In response to Lukes (Australia) comment on the Lockless door, I agree to
his comments.

I do believe this is a powerful poem. In fact I find it quite personal, as
if we can relate the poem's true meaning into our lives. Such as the
decision whether to confront to who or what is knocking at our own lockless
I also agree that you can interpret the poem in a different way each time
you read it, because the poet becomes quite ambiguous as you read on in the
poem, thus allowing your imagination to fill in the double meanings.
Although many of the comments that Luke has made, I do not entirely agree
with the last lines of his comment. I do not think that the thing knocking
at the door is literally a person but rather the person is trying to run
away from something of which he fears in his life. In my opinion, although
there are many interpretations of this poem, the person is possibly running
away from himself, because he may have some personal guilt or problems with
his own conscience about something that happened some years ago. As it is
his conscience, the cage in which he tries to hide in cannot hide him
because he is trying to hide from himself.

Willhen from Australia
Comment 55 of 900, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:43 PM.

We think that this poem is not in fact a metaphor, and the language is too
simplistic to warrant the depth of a metaphysical poem. Instead of doubt,
the person in the poem is actually fearful of what is behind the door.

bart and richard from Australia
Comment 54 of 900, added on April 2nd, 2006 at 9:46 PM.

I thought the poem was really good. I loved it

Durk Hobbit from Canada
Comment 53 of 900, 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 900, 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 900, 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

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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: 34409 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 24 2002

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