Why do you like "The Listeners" poem? Give reasons to support your answer.Why do you like "The Listeners" poem? Give reasons to support your answer.

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I love the mysterious approach and the way that the poem can be interpreted so many different ways.  Any work of literature that makes you think and rethink based on personal experiences, value systems, and perspective is a great piece of literature. 

mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is really a question that only you can answer.  When trying to decide, ask yourself some questions.  Did you think the poem was interesting?  What was cool about it?  What wasn't cool?  What was confusing or complicated?  Do you like the ending, or do you wish that it had ended differently?   Ask yourself these specific questions in regards to the poem, and based on the answers that you get, you will be able to figure it out.

Personally, I loved this poem.  It was mysterious, intriguing, well-written and opened up a lot of doors of possibility in  regards to what it could be talking about.  I liked the fact that it wasn't overdone either; it is like a little mini-horror story, and these days, horror stories are way overdone; too many gory effects, too many intense endings, too many people dying.  But this story is simple, creepy, but tactful.  The strangers are there, they are listening behind the door, and there are many of them.  But the author doesn't go overboard in describing them, doesn't have them rush to the door to maul the guy or do something really awful to him.  Then, the listener shouts out his mysterious message, "Tell them I came, that no one answered, that I kept my word."  That opens  up a whole door of mystery; the reader can't help wonder what the back-story on that is.  But, he doesn't open the door and confront the spirits, he doesn't make any stupid journey through the haunted house; instead, he leaves.  And throughout it all, there are great descriptions to make it all eerie; the dark forest, the wind rustling in the trees, the strange noises.  All of this sets a great mood of mystery, which adds to the poem.

Please form your own opinions about the poem though;  good luck!

amylm's profile pic

amylm | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

i think the poem shows a beautiful sort of loneliness as all around its a beautiful fairytale scene with the forst floor and the moonlit door but theres also this lonely side to it where there is no one there but the people of the past who are caught in their loneliness and cant get out these phantom listeners, I think they are a symbol for the loneliness trying to keep away from the man as they dont want him to suffer the way they have done, so they dont answer the man, but still he knows they are there. Also I think the line atg the end is very powerful as it says when  the plunging hooves were gone, he is leaving the place on his own and leaving the phantom listeners alone with no one else. \i dont know if anyone else feels this but i do x

kc4u's profile pic

kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Walter de la Mare's poem The Listeners arrests its readers primarily because of its atmosphere of subtle nocturnal mystery and a beautifully worked-out suspense. The unidentified traveller, the lone forest-house, the silent uncanny presence of the phantom listeners, chosen sounds like that of the horse's munching and that of the bird's fluttering out of the turret suggestively punctuating the silence, the words of the traveller being heard and responded to by the listeners in their language of silence etc. lend a rare mysteriousness to the whole poem. Does the traveller visiting the forlorn forest-house and addressing the muted spirits in the shadowy interiors symbolise an unsuccessful attempt of a communication between the world of the living and the world of the dead, between light and darkness. The poem is also quite remarkable for its imagery and phrasing.

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