THE LOCKLESS DOOR It went many years, But at last came a knock, And I thought of the door With no lock to lock. I blew out the light, I tip-toed the floor, And raised both hands In prayer to the door.
THE LOCKLESS DOOR But the knock came again So at a knock My window was wide; I emptied my cage I climbed on the sill To hide in the world And descended outside. And alter with age. Back over the sill I bade a “Come in” To whatever the knock At the door may have been.
Summary The narrator is alone in a house with a lockless doorwhen he hears an unexpected knock. He immediatelyblows out his candle in terror and tiptoes to the door,silently praying that no one will come in. Uponhearing another knock on the door, the narratorquickly jumps out the window to safety and shouts“Come in!” to whatever (or whoever) was knocking.
Analysis The poem is based on an autobiographical event that occurred early in Frost’s career. Throughout his childhood, Frost was extremely afraid of the dark, to the point where he slept on a bed in his mother’s room through his high school years. In 1895, Frost was staying alone in a cottage on Ossipee Mountain when he heard a knock on the old, lockless door. Frost was too terrified to answer the door but jumped through a window in the back and then called “Come in!” from the outside. The next morning, Frost returned to the cottage and found one of his neighbors in a drunken slumber on the floor.
Analysiscreates a more ominous force In the poem, Frost takes the comic event and outside the lockless door. He uses the term “whatever” instead of “whoever” in order to express the knock’s unknown and potentially threatening origin, as well as the abstract nature of the narrator’s own fear. In the final stanza, Frost gently mocks the terrified narrator (and himself) by pointing out that a simple knock is enough to make the narrator completely leave his home for the “safety” of the New England winter. Frost also suggests that the narrator is losing an opportunity to save himself from isolation: this is the first knock on the door for “many years” and possibly the first chance that the narrator has had to meet another person for an equally long amount of time. Rather than communicating with another person in his “cage,” however, the narrator chooses to abandon it completely.
Analysis Significantly, the narrator still invites the person outside to “come in,” but only after he has established a detached position outside the house. He is willing to offer hospitality, but cannot bring himself to offer the hospitality on a personal level: even if the person does enter the house, the narrator will not be there to welcome him. Yet, in his effort to escape the person at his door, the narrator inadvertently escapes his own enforced isolation. Since he cannot reenter his house (not knowing who is in there), the narrator is suddenly forced to interact with the rest of the world and finally “alter with age,” adapting to others than only himself.
Fire and Ice Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what Ive tasted of desire I hold with those who favour fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.
Summary This short poem outlines the familiar question about the fate of the world, wondering if it is more likely to be destroyed by fire or ice. People are on both sides of the debate, and Frost introduces the narrator to provide his personal take on the question of the end of the world. The narrator first concludes that the world must end in fire after considering his personal experience with desire and passion, the emotions of fire. Yet, after considering his experience with “ice,” or hatred, the narrator acknowledges that ice would be equally destructive.
Analysis In the first two lines of the poem, Frost creates a clear dichotomy between fire and ice and the two groups of people that believe in each element. By using the term “some” instead of “I” or “an individual,” Frost asserts that the distinction between the two elements is a universal truth, not just an idea promoted by an individual. First lines also outline the claim that the world will end as a direct result of one of these elements. It is unclear which element will destroy the world, but it is significant to note that fire and ice are the only options. The poem does not allow for any other possibilities in terms of the world’s fate, just as there are not any other opinions allowed in the black-and-white debate between fire and ice.
Analysis Interestingly, the two possibilities for the world’s destruction correspond directly to a common scientific debate during the time Frost wrote the poem. Some scientists believed that the world would be incinerated from its fiery core, while others were convinced that a coming ice age would destroy all living things on the earth’s surface. Instead of maintaining a strictly scientific perspective on this debate, Frost introduces a more emotional side, associating passionate desire with fire and hatred with ice. Within this metaphorical view of the two elements, the “world” can be recognized as a metaphor for a relationship. Too much fire and passion can quickly consume a relationship, while cold indifference and hate can be equally destructive.
Analysis Although the first two lines of the poem insist that there can only be a single choice between fire and ice, the narrator acknowledges that both elements could successfully destroy the world. Moreover, the fact that he has had personal experience with both (in the form of desire and hate) reveals that fire and ice are not mutually exclusive, as the first two lines of the poem insist. In fact, though the narrator first concludes that the world will end in fire, he ultimately admits that the world could just as easily end in ice; fire and ice, it seems, are strikingly similar.
A Minor Bird I have wished a bird would fly away, And not sing by my house all day; Have clapped my hands at him from the door When it seemed as if I could bear no more. The fault must partly have been in me. The bird was not to blame for his key. And of course there must be something wrong In wanting to silence any song.
Analysis Poem is about freedom of expression and appreciation of the arts. Theres this bird thats been singing all day and its getting on his nerves. He eventually snaps and tries to put an end to the birds dreadful singing. Its only then that he realizes what hes done. Hes put himself before the birds self- expression and happiness. A bird (or any artist) may not be good at what he does, but everyone has a right to self-expression, and as caring human beings, we should show a person appreciation at least for the effort that he puts into his work.