The Place Between

Paper Door of Dreams



my paper door.

Within the folds of

written dreams lie desires


We are asked to think of a place, one to research, to write about. A million magnificent, impressive lands come to mind: a distant country of foreign beauty, an imaginary worlds to draw the mind, places unique. But there are the spaces of the ordinary. The ones we don’t pay any mind to. A bedroom, an abandoned house, a storage box, a window. Locations that will still exist even if you exit, even if you forget. And often, when you leave a room you do forget. Like the times when you go through a door, entering a new room and suddenly every thought in your mind previously has vanished. Where am I? Was there something I needed? Why am I even here? You remember information best in the context in which you learned it. Thus when you pass across a threshold new thoughts and memories flood your mind pushing out the previous ones, causing you to forget (Brenner and Zacks). Doors serve as a perfect example of an ordinary space. Overlooked but holding so much importance in our lives. It is a place of transition. Of beginnings, endings, welcomes, good-byes. They symbolize many things in many different cultures. You could be at death’s door, or behind closed doors, you could put your foot in the door or never darken door again (The Free Dictionary). The doorway, an ordinary space, a thin film that allows passage to and from other spaces, though often quickly passed through, represents so much.

alice03a (Tenniel)


“Reaching or crossing the threshold is associated with rebirth and leaving the past behind” (Symbolism of Doors.)  Just as doors allow us to transition from room to room they symbolize, in religion, myth, and lore, a spiritual or personal change (Symbolism of Doors.) In Egyptian culture, the doorway to a tomb was seen as a transition from the world of the physical to the dimension of the spiritual (van den Dungen.) There the two realms would communicate with one another, there the soul unites with the immortal spirit. As you cross the threshold into a holy place it is expected you make the metamorphosis from our hectic, materialistic lives to a place of peace (Portal Symbolism). In myths, entrances are guarded with monsters in order to dramatize the passage from the impure to the sacred (Portal Symbolism). In our lives an example of this symbolism is marriage. When a groom carries his bride across the threshold it represents the shift into a new life together.  In these ways a door way is much more than just something to quickly step through to enter a new area. It represents a shift, change, transition into a new life or perhaps to a different time or maybe simply to a place of peace.

Stock Photo titled: Open Door To A House In Slovenia, unlicensed use prohibited (Levit)

Beginnings and Ends

As a door closes another one opens. Doors symbolize a beginning and an end. An open door is welcoming and full of hope. “Opportunity knocks,” a phrase that is full of hope and new beginnings, that a fresh opportunity is only a door knob turn away. In myths heroes’ journeys often beginning by walking through a door (Portal Symbolism). You open a door to enter into a new area and start anew. While this open door is welcoming, a closed door can feel imprisoning. It can represent a dead end or an absolute end to something (Symbolism of Doors ). When a door closes its finite, you can no longer see what was there, you can no longer see the past you left behind. The only thing left to do is move on.  But even as one thing ends a new door lies just ahead of you, offering its fresh beginning.



For me, a door has signified all of these things but the way I most identify a door is as a guardian. As a child doors, especially my front door was protection from the outside world. In Indian culture a door is regarded in a similar way. A barrier “between the dust and grime of the streets and the purity and cleanliness of home” (Pegrum.) Doors guard the places that lie beyond. They offer privacy and safe keeping to the place just beyond. This is another reason doors are often guarded in stories, to protect the contents of the room. The entrance to our homes is guarded by doors, we have the choice whether or not to allow people in.

“The Roman god Janus was the god of doors and doorways, and also the god of beginnings, endings, transitions, gates, gateways, and time”  (Symbolism of Doors ).Janus was the god of all of these things because doors symbolize each of these. The symbolism the door has taken on makes it unique like all the foreign lands and imaginary places that first come to mind when we call upon this idea of place. But in regards to this idea of place there is nothing more interesting about a door than its most simple use: to pass from place to place. They organize, keeping separate spaces that would otherwise blend. We knock on them. Slam them. Crack them open to allow two places to embrace for just a moment. We don’t contribute to the space of a door much, just pass quickly through. What is the difference between outside and inside? Just a door. And for that moment of passage, in that instant of limbo between place you belong only to the door, the place beyond and behind have no hold on you. Each time you walk through a door linger a bit and remember the transition it allows you, the beginnings and endings it offers, and the protection it provides.

Brenner, Charles, and Jeffrey Zacks. Why Walking through a Doorway Makes You Forget. Scientific

                American, 13 Dec. 2011. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

The Free Dictionary. Farlex, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

Haines, Jean. Venetian Door Study. Photograph. Opening Doors. Watercolours With Life, 20 July 2010.

                Web. 5 Nov. 2013.

Hram, Novi. Locked Door. Photograph. Similar Deviations. Deviant Art, n.d.Web. 5 Nov. 2013.

Levit, Keith. Open Door to a House in Slovenia. Photograph. World of Stock. Select Stock Photograhy, n.d.

                Web. 5 Nov. 2013.

Pegrum, Juliet. Transitional Spaces: Thresholds and Hallways. Durga Interiors, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

Portal Symbolism.Wisdom Portal, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

Symbolism of Doors. South Bay Rustic Doors, 23 March. 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

Tenniel, John. Alice finding tiny door behind curtain. Photograph. Tenniel Illustrations for Alice in 
 Wonderland.Project Gutenberg Ebook, 27 May 2008. Web. 5 Nov. 2013

van den Dungen, Wim. The Pyramid Texts of UNAS. SofiaTopia, 29 June. 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.