What is the traveller's state of mind?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In De La Mare's poem, the traveller is not at one with his surroundings.  The traveller comes upon the castle late at night, with the elements all around him conveying a sense of the unknown.  He calls out to signal his arrival, knocks on the door, and receives no response to either.  It is at this point, where the traveller's state of mind is confusion at both the absence of a response as well as the conditions around him, conveying a sense of the unknown and the ambiguous.  "The one man left awake" is shown to feature an agitated state of mind that is not in concert with the setting around him.  The environment is not impacted by his presence as it represents an existential state that is without essence.  The traveller seeks to find some meaning, some purpose in this setting.  The traveller's state of mind is one where there is question and confusion regarding the world around him and an inability to bring the subjective to merge with the objective reality:

The scene reinforces one of Walter de la Mare’s common themes: Human beings are estranged from both the natural and the social worlds, and are puzzled and even frightened by the unfathomable mystery at the heart of life.


at1996 | Student

The traveller has come to fufill his promise he had given to the owners of this abandoned house. we can say that at that time he is hopeful and wishing for the people to be there.

but as the story progresses we can see that he feels confusion at their absence and restless for an answer because of the stillness and quietness of the place.