Each question should be 150 to 250 words long and should address each component of the question.
1. Read Robert Hayden’s “The Whipping” (pages 10-1) and Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” (page 399). Then answer the following question: In what respects are these two poems similar? How do they contrast?
Robert Hayden’s The Whipping and Theodore Roethke’s My Papa’s Waltz takes the readers’ back to the childhood days of the poets’. Both the poems are similar in theme, portraying the poets’ disturbed experience in one of the circumstances. The Whipping shows the speaker observing an old woman whipping a boy for his wrongs. The line ‘is whipping the boy again’ (2) shows that this is a regular occurrence in boy’s life. The poet highlights the woman’s infuriation of striking the boy till the stick breaks. The poet relates himself to the boy’s suffering, reminded of his struggle during his childhood, where the fear was more dominant than the pain and the harsh words that came were the ones never to be forgotten.
Similarly, Roethke’s My Papa’s Waltz projects the son’s hardship with a father who has returned home drunk. The boy in the poem, who could be the poet, is unable to withstand the father’s approach towards him. The father clings and sways him in the form of the waltz. As they both move around in random fashion, the boy bangs himself in the pans, hurts his ear when every step is missed. The father does not know that he is troubling his son through his rough handling.
While the poem is similar in theme, there are contrasting aspects too. In the first poem, the boy undergoes violent tortures such as whipping and thrashing, while the second poem does not show any violent handling of the kid. Secondly, The Whipping shows an old woman, the boy, and the speaker, where the speaker observes a situation that he has closely undergone in his life. In My Papa’s Waltz, the speaker recollects one his own experiences with his father, where there is a little...