There is hardly an experience as trivial and as everyday as hearing someone knocking at the door or a doorbell ringing. However, even out of such a common thing, Metcalfe and Game manage to develop a compelling and intriguing idea.
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In their short story, ‘A knock at the door’, the writers manage to convey an idea that changes, whether they are for better or for worse, are a part and parcel of people’s lives, which means that being open for changes is pretty much living a full life.
Taking a closer look at the passage that starts with “the doorbell prompts drama’s primal question” to “was never to be completed”1, one can see that there is more in the simple description of choice than meets the eye.
At certain point, it might actually seem that the authors not merely hint at the tortures of making a choice, but also make a big metaphor for life as it is, with all its opportunities that come and go, and the threats which these opportunities conceal.
The door becomes a gateway for a countless number of events and further options to choose from; the authors make it clear that after the door is open, the person who opened it is bound to take a great amount of responsibilities that come with another acquaintance.
“The visitor could be a beggarman or a thief; it could be Archangel Gabriel, the Angel of Death or a person with good news from lottery office”2.
Metcalfe and Game make it clear that, opening the door, one will let the whole palette of life in, thus, changing his/her own pace, which definitely takes guts.
In addition, Metcalfe and Game touch upon the necessity of solitude, mentioning that, just because of one single visit, the work on Kubla Khan was interrupted to never be continued again.
It seems that the authors are not only showing the mechanisms of the binary opposition logics, but are also trying to break free from its realm.
Of course, they do convey the message that there are two key options, i.e. either taking the risks and going where the chance will take you, or sitting there twiddling one’s fingers and fearing the burden of responsibilities.
However, it seems that Metcalfe and Game do in fact consider the third option, that is, the possibility of lingering and rethinking the choice.
Even as the authors speak of the choice being made, they still make it clear that the moment of choice is another stage that leads to a certain self-development: “The door has become a curtain that will open to reveal the next stage of my life”3.
Thus, the bottom line is that whenever hearing a knock at the door, it is better to take chances and open it. Despite the fact that changes lead to the most unpredictable results and can turn one’s life completely upside down, they are a much better option than living a life as exciting as a schedule of trains.
Showing in a rather graphic way that opportunity knocks, but it does not beg, the authors managed to explain the readers how unpredictable life can be, making it obvious that a good chance is worth taking a risk.
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Metcalfe, A & A Game, ‘A knock at the door’ in A Metcalfe & A Game (eds.), The mystery of everyday life, Federation Press, Annandale, AU, 2002.
1. A. Metcalfe & A Game, ‘A knock at the door’ in A Metcalfe & A Game (eds.), The mystery of everyday life, Federation Press, Annandale, AU, 2002, p. 65.
2. A. Metcalfe & A Game, ‘A knock at the door’ in A Metcalfe & A Game (eds.), The mystery of everyday life, Federation Press, Annandale, AU, 2002, p. 65.
3. A. Metcalfe & A Game, ‘A knock at the door’ in A Metcalfe & A Game (eds.), The mystery of everyday life, Federation Press, Annandale, AU, 2002, p. 65.