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Poetry Paper - Essay Example

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Your name Poetry Paper Parental Love Through Child’s Eyes in Adult’s Interpretation in “My Papa’s Waltz” by Roethke and “The Gift” by Lee The aim of this paper is to analyze two different poems by two different authors: Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” and Li-Young Lee’s “The Gift”…
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Download file to see previous pages The poem raises contrasting opinions of the readers. It is a short poem consisting only of sixteen lines, but the meaning it conveys is very deep one. As any other poem it contains the harmony of rhythm, rhyme, and clarity of images. The emotions it evokes cross the boundaries of the written words. The messages it conveys are perceived differently. To begin with, the very first line starting with “the whiskey on your breath” (1) implies not very clear state of mind, while making “a small boy dizzy” (2) implies a message of sexual character. The father is obviously drunk. Readers of different age groups might interpret the message quite differently, because the problems expressed are perceived not in the same way by different generations. So, while reading the poem it seems like the boy is blaming his father for pain infliction upon him. Besides, the first four lines of the poem make one’s feel gloomy and depressed. What can be expected from a drunken man breathing into your face? Besides, the speaker acknowledges that waltzing was not an easy one. Also, it is not only a father who is blamed for incorrect attitude towards his child. A mother is regarded as accomplice as she does nothing to prevent her husband from excessive partying. The mother simply keeps frowning and does nothing to defend the child. “My Papa’s Waltz” is written in past tense which means that the speaker is reflecting on the events in the past. The following lines “Then waltzed me off to bed / Still clinging to your shirt” (15-16) indicate that the speaker was probably a small child. It is usually children of pre-school or early school age that are taken to bed. Besides, it is a characteristic of small children to cling to one’s clothes, especially clothes of their parents. Also, indication of the fact that the speaker is child the height which is rather short: “At every step you missed / My right ear scraped a buckle” (11-12). Furthermore, the evidence that the boy was abused and beaten by his father can seem quite clear. The scraped ear is a physical injury, while battered knuckle can be indication that the man beat his son with his fists. Ideally a mother cannot stay aside when her child is abused. However, the woman could not unfrown herself maybe because she was also afraid of a drunken man or maybe she had been also abused by her spouse. At the same time, however, if to take into account life circumstances of the 1940s some of the blames inflicted by the reader can be made smoother. It was the period of beginning of the WWI or a gloomy period in the history. A man drinking whiskey after a long working day was not something unusual. The boy was seemingly taught to waltz by his father. The battered knuckle could not be necessarily an evidence of beating a boy; it could be the result of some specific physical work done with one’s hands. And “the palm caked hard by dirt” (14) could be also indication of difficult physical work. Furthermore, the word “romp” indicates positive mood of the dance and the memory about it. Finally, the fact that the boy was clinging to the clothes of this father shows that the child did not want to go to bed, but stay with his father instead. Therefore, if to analyze the p ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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