Impression of the Traveler in Walter De La Mare’s “The Listeners”

The traveler in Walter De La Mare’s The Listeners has been presented as a representative from the world of men, who has come to the abode of spirits. But instead of giving full details about him, the poet has drawn him simply with a few suggestive touches, so that there is a lot of vagueness about this nocturnal traveler. He has undertaken a somewhat challenging journey to a lonely house in the midst of a forest at the dead of night, to keep his promise. This indicates that he is a man of word, who knows how to honour an appointment, and that he is a courageous and dauntless sort of person, not at all afraid of meeting unearthly creatures at unearthly hours, at a place far away from human habitation.

No physical description is given of the traveler except that he has ‘grey eyes’. According to some critics, he is as unreal as the phantom listeners themselves, and his total lack of fear in that strange situation marks him as an exceptional being. The mysterious ‘grey eyes’ of his, have something like a supernatural suggestion in them. However, the perplexity that he feels when in spite of repeated knocking, no answer is forthcoming, marks him out as a normal human being.

But the strange thing about his character is that even after feeling sure that instead of living beings only ghosts were listening to him from inside the house, he is determined to address the very phantoms and give his message to them : “Tell them I came” etc. He is doing here something that a man would scarcely have the courage to do. By his repeated efforts at establishing a communion, with the spirit world, he becomes a symbolic figure, a sort of bridge between the world of men and the world of phantoms, an explorer who tries to shake and break the barrier that separates the two worlds.

Ardhendu De
My photo

An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

"Dear Readers/ Students, I am a huge fan of books, English Grammar & Literature. I write this blog to instill that passion in you." 

Popular Posts

Analysis of Mulk Raj Anand’s Story, "The Lost Child": Accepted Part of Our Multicultural Neighborhood in the World

Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones as a Picaresque Novel: ‘comic – epic in prose’

Analysis of Nissim Ezekiel’s "Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher"

William Wordsworth: Nature’s Prophet and Priest

Critical Appreciation of William Wordsworth's The Solitary Reaper

Dr. West’s New Method of Teaching English :Its Merits and Demerits

Critical Appreciation of Philip Larkin’s Poem, "The North Ship": Life Award for Best Philosophical Access

Analyses, after Marcel Junod, how “Hiroshima had ceased to exist” in “The First Atom Bomb”: Brutal Destruction of Hiroshima Pains us and Makes us Aware of the Great Dangers of a Nuclear War

Critical Appreciation of Gerard Manley Hopkins's Pied Beauty

Latin Loan Words in English language.