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My Papa's Waltz - Scholarship Essay Example

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Roethkes poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” depicts the conflict between fathers and their sons, and is also said to be autobiographical account of his relationship with his father. This essay analyzes the poems elements of point of view, structure, and symbolism. These elements…
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My Papas Waltz
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Download file to see previous pages Roethke also employs several poetic devices that support the poems theme, such as iambic meter and additional footing. The poem asserts the theme also through different symbols, specifically the “dance,” which characterize the fathers way of influencing his son, who is more unlike than like him.
Father-son relationships are often fraught with tensions, especially when the father and son have more differences than similarities. Roethkes poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” is said to have been his poetic rendition of his strained relationship with his own father. Some critics analyzed “My Papa’s Waltz” as a poem of happiness, where father and son bond through a comic waltz dance, while others see it from a point of view of terror, because of the physical and emotional impacts of the dance on the child. This essay focuses more on the conflict in the father-son relationship that this poem captures. It analyzes this poems elements of point of view, structure, and symbolism to depict the conflict between a father and his son, who have different personalities and dreams in life, and yet the father aims to fashion his son in his own image.
Roethke chooses the childs point of view in writing the poem, in order to emphasize his feelings regarding his ritualistic dance with his father. He wants readers to identify more with the child than the adults. He does this by writing short lines that are pervasive in childrens poetry (Baird 2). He also uses the verse that children use. For example, “Papa” is a term that children often employ for their father. Roethke, nevertheless, seeks for readers to also remember that the poem is an adults memory of his father. The world “countenance,” for instance, is not a term that children generally use (Baird 2). As a childhood memory, it connects to his thoughts and feelings about his father as an adult. The diction of the poem also stresses the childs fright for this dance. He says that his fathers ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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