What was the place that the traveller came to?

Expert Answers

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

In "The Listeners," Walter de la Mare cultivates an atmosphere of mystery. It is not surprising, therefore, that we know very little about the place to which the traveler has come. The poem begins with him knocking on a door at night, in or near a forest. The...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In "The Listeners," Walter de la Mare cultivates an atmosphere of mystery. It is not surprising, therefore, that we know very little about the place to which the traveler has come. The poem begins with him knocking on a door at night, in or near a forest. The building he finds is later described as a house, but before this is mentioned, we learn that it has at least one turret, usually associated with castles. One of the window sills is also described as "leaf-fringed," which suggests that the house or castle is covered with ivy or some other climbing plant.

The house is still and shadowy and seems to be haunted. We never learn exactly who the titular listeners are, but they are given the epithet "phantom" and may very well be ghosts. The traveler ends by announcing that he has kept his word, so we assume that he is keeping an appointment by coming to this lonely place, though we can only guess at the circumstances and conditions under which he undertook to be there.

In short, the place to which the traveler comes is a house or castle in or beside a forest. It is probably covered with ivy and is inhabited only by some phantom "listeners," perhaps ghosts, who give no sign of their presence.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team