The Listeners creates an uncanny atmosphere. State in what way the poet builds up such an atmosphere using devotion to details? the answer should contain lines quoted from the poem and stating its explanation so that we can present  how the poet uses devotion to details to make the atmosphere of the poem uncanny.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What words in the poem build up the uncanny atmosphere?  The word that describe the forest and the horse are not particularly uncanny. They seem to be quite normal.

It is the words that describe the house, the listeners, and the behavior and feelings of the Traveller that lead to the atmosphere of the poem. For example, "he smote upon the door" leads the reader to a different feeling than if he had simply "knocked upon the door." What does the word "smote" mean?  Check your dictionary to see. The scene is "moonlit," which also contributes to the atmosphere of the poem.  Could it be as effective if the action took place in sunlight?  Probably not!  The house has a window sill described as "leaf-fringed," which suggest to the reader that the house was deserted long ago.  Who would live in a house that had vines growing up over the window sill? 

As you read through the poem, you will see any number of words that contribute to the eerie feeling of the poem. Here are just a few: dark, empty, lonely, strangeness, and stillness.   Have fun finding the rest yourself.

Good luck to you!

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team