What is the summary and theme of the poem "The Listeners" by Walter de la Mare?traveler

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dymatsuoka's profile pic

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"The Listeners" describes a traveler who has come to knock on a moonlit door in an eerie, unknown place.  He has come to keep an unnamed promise, and knocks on the door harder and harder, but gets no response.  Unbeknownst to him, a "host of phantom listeners' (line 13) are inside but unresponsive to his calls.  The traveler finally leaves, but the listeners remain.

The theme of the poem is the place of man in a universe which is far greater than he, and which he can neither connect with nor understand.  It focuses on man's state of isolation and disharmony with the natural world.  Nature, as represented by the horse placidly munching on the grass and the bird frightened by the man's disturbing clamor, is normally serene - it is only man who is anxious because of his separateness.  The traveler tries to overcome his aloneness and establish meaning by fruitless seeking (knocking) and responsible living (keeping promises), but the natural world remains unyielding in keeping its distance, and the traveler continues on alone.

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deadpool6803's profile pic

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This poem by Walter de la Mare describes a Lonely Traveller who had riding on his horse,in midst of a dark forest,reaches a house where he has come to fulfil an unnamed promise.He pounds the door once but gets no response.Only the sound of his horse munching on the grass is to be heard.A bird flies out of the turret and above his head.Again,he pounds the door and shouts "Is there anybody there?"He gets no answer.But he knows inside reside a 'host of phantom listeners' hearing a voice from the world of men.They knew that the Traveller was outside waiting for one of them to answer his call,but they stand still assembling on the staircase.He feels their strangeness in his heart and their silence answering his cries.He stand there still and suddenly he pounds the door on last time shouting "Tell them I came and no one answered,that,I kept my word." His loud voice didn't stir the listeners,though every word spoken by his,felt echoing in the darkness of the still house.As the Traveller climbed his horse and put foot his foot on the stirrup,he looks back one last time and sped off on his horse.And when the sound of the horse's plunging hooves was gone,the silence of the house silently surged backwards.

The poem is a metaphor for the journey of life.We go through life seeking answers to many questions.But,we do not always wether we go looking for them in religion,science or in ourselves.The poem is metaphor for the reader's journey through life with all its unanswered questions.The Traveller calls out for answers but is met with silence.

                                              When in life,we face troubles,we seek God,or knock at his door.This our spiritual self where we are Travellers in search for spiritual satisfaction.God becomes the Silent Listener.The horse depicts the baser nature that seeks physical satisfaction from life.

taibur's profile pic

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'THE LISTENERS' BY WALTER DE LA MARE IS A GREAT POEM WHICH HAS SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE.A CLOSE AND SINCERE STUDY OF THE POEM PRODUCES NEW REVEALATIONS ALL THE TIME.A TRAVELLAR COMES TO A DESERTED HOUSE IN THE MIDST OF A FOREST.HE KNOCKS ON THE MOONLIT DOOR OF THE MYSTERIOUS HOUSE MORE THAN ONE TIME.BUT HE RECEIVES NO ANSWER OR RESPONSE FROM THE INMATES OF THE HOUSE. THEN THE TRAVELLER REALISES THE STRANGENESS OF THE SITUATION.THEN HE LEAVES A MESSAGE FOR THE EXISTING INMATES WHO WERE GHOSTS THAT HE HAS KEPT HIS PROMISE.HE ALSO SAYS TO THE PHANTOM LISTENERS TO TELL THE ORIGINAL INMATES OF THE HOUSE THAT NOBODY HAS ANSWERED HIS CALL.THEN THE TRAVELLER AND HIS HORSE LEAVES THE STRANGE PLACE.

  • SOME CRITICS THINKS THAT THE "GRAY EYES" OF THE TRAVELLERS INDICATE THAT THE TRAVELLER IS ALSO DEAD.SOME CRITICS ALSO IGNORES THIS SUGGESTION.ACCORDING TO THEM,IF THE TRAVELLER WAS DEAD,THE FANTOM LISTENERS MUST REPLY TO HIS CALL.ABOVE ALL THE SUPERNATURAL ATMOSPHERE THROUGHWHICH THE TRAVELLER UNDERGOES IS VERY SIGNIFICANT.THE SUDDEN FLYING OF THE BIRD CAN CREATE A SENSE OF HORROR IN THE MIND OF ANY SENSITIVE READER.THE TRAVELLER IS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WORLD OF LIVING BEINGS.THE PHANTOM LISTENERS ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE SUPERNATURAL WORLD.THROGH THE LISTENERS WE CAN REALISE THE INABLITY OF THOSE SPIRIT TO SPEAK AND TO RESPONSE.THE DIFFERENCE EXISTING BETWEEN THESE TWO WORLDS CAN BE UNDERSTOOD BY THIS POEM.THE SETTING OF THIS POEM IS VERY IMPORTANT.THIS GOTHIC SETTING CONTRIBUTES TO THIS POEM'S ENORMOUS POPULARITY.
  • THIS POEM CLEARLY SHOWS WALTER DE LA MARE'S SUPREMACY AS A POET.HIS USE OF IMAGERY ADDS A NEW DIMENSION TO THIS POEM.THE IMAGES EMPLOYED IN THIS POEM HELPS TO INCREASE THE SUPERNATURAL ATMOSPHERE OF THIS GREAT POEM.THE POEM ALSO TEACHES US A LESSON THAT COMMUNICATION IS ESSENTIAL FOR ANY HEALTHY HUMAN RELATIONSHIP.THE IMPORTANCE OF PROMISE IN HUMAN LIFE IS ALSO POINTED OUT IN THIS POEM.
  • AFTER JUDGING ALL THE ASPECTS OF THIS POEM, WE CAN CONSIDER IT AS A GREAT AND PRECIOUS WORK OF LITERATURE.ITS MEDIEVAL SETTING GIVES IT AN EXCEPTIONAL CHARM.

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