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Explication- MY Papas Waltz

1 Pages 278 Words

Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” is a fixed form poem of sixteen lines. Roethke created the rhyme scheme abab, cdcd, efef, ghgh. Roethke uses this rhyme scheme to make it sound as if the poem is a waltz. The rhyme scheme gives the poem a beat. Each stanza is made up of four lines, which the first and third lines rhyme, and the second and fourth lines rhyme. The poem, in first person point of view, describes a small boy who is dancing with his drunken father in the kitchen. The small boy’s mother is upset with the father (7-8). The images in the poem include the boy’s father stumbling around, and the small boy thinks he and his father are dancing. Another image the poem leaves is the father’s hands “battered on one knuckle” and “caked hard by dirt”(10,14). This leaves an image of a hard workingman, and the mother is angry. The final image in the poem is where his drunken father is putting the small boy to bed. Roethke uses a simile in the poem comparing how the boy was being dragged around while the boy thought he was dancing (3). The waltz is an overall extended metaphor. The small boy believes he is dancing, but his father is really dragging him around. The tone of the poem is sad. Roethke uses the words “battered” and “death” to make the tone of the poem sad (3,10). The father seemed to have gotten into a fight while being drunk, and his wife is mad at him. The small boy did not want to go to bed because he was still clinging to his father’s shirt (16)....

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