My Papa's Waltz Literary Devices

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Poetry is made to express the feelings, thoughts, and emotions of the poet. The reader can interpret the poem however they see fit. The poem is open to many interpretations the readers seem fit. In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” written by Theodore Roethke, individuals who recall the memory of an abusive relationship with their parent often feel resentment towards them as adults. Careful analysis of each individual stanza backs up the theory of child abuse by a violent and drunken father. This can be shown through multiple literary devices used by Roethke throughout the poem, such as imagery, simile, symbolism, and rhyme. In the first stanza Roethke starts of the poem using various literary devices. It is also where Roethke establishes a deeper meaning to his father’s waltz. In the first two lines of the stanza, he establishes that the characters father is an alcoholic based on the intense smell of whiskey on his breath. It is stated that the fathers breath could make a small boy dizzy, indicating that the father has had too much to drink. In line three the author uses a simile, “but I hung on like death,” to show the darker meaning of the waltz. The characters tight grip on to his father is so hard that he is…show more content…
The speaker throughout the poem seems resentful of his father because of the hardship he put him through. He resents the fact that his father’s alcoholic abuse affected their relationship. Although the speaker is resentful towards his father, the poem experiences a shift when he holds on to his father until the very end of the ‘waltz.’ This can be reinterpreted to think that the speaker has never let go of his father, but has never been able to get through to him either. So not only is the speaker resentful for the hardship he put him through as a young boy but also the rejection he has put him through all his

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