My Papa's Waltz Literary Devices

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In his lifetime, Theodore Roethke was known as a college professor and a Pulitzer Prize winner (Dorset 2005) for his various forms of work. Although he admired many forms of works himself from various poets, it his poetry that was considered to “speak eloquently to a wide audience” (McKenna 1998). Roethke wrote about the reality of how life was around him and also how his poetry was also the reflection of himself. One of these poems that defined the definitions of what was reality was for him is the poem entitled “My Papa’s Waltz”. In analyzing the short poem, literary elements presents themselves are the use of imagery, the different tones of the poem, and the critical approach of structuralism all plays the role in making this particular poem to become a whole.…show more content…
Roethke paints the metal picture of what it is like for him as a boy to be dancing around with his father, though it would seem that his father was not painted in a good light particularly in the first stanza of the poem. He (Roethke) also paints the picture of what is happening in the scene and also what it is like for his little boy mind, “The whiskey on your breath, Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy” (Roethke 245). This imagery states that even though he (Roethke) is having a difficult time dancing around with the smell of alcohol on his dad’s breath, he still seemly to be having a good time and hanging onto his father for dear

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