Analysis Of My Papa's Waltz Poem By Theodore Roethke

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Precious Memory While the subject of the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke has spurred passionate academic debate from professors, scholars, and students alike, the imagery, syntax, and diction of the poem clearly support the interpretation that Roethke writes “My Papa’s Waltz” to reminisce a precious memory with his father. However, the author makes it a fraction difficult to understand his intended meaning. Roethke uses a variety of words and phrases that lead the reader to interpret the poem a different way than it was intended to.
Although the author provides many controversial context, the text is made clear once it is examined thoroughly. Roethke uses many words such as “Romped” and “Battered” which leads a sentence to have multiple meanings. To start off, in stanza one the author states that his “Papa” had “Whiskey” On “[his] breath” followed by the author hanging on “Like death.” when first reading the poem, most will probably think these statements mean that the father came home drunk. In addition, in stanza 2 it
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The fact, that most people infer this poem to be about abuse is reasonable. however, according to Roethke’s biography, his father passed away due to cancer in 1923, when he was just 14, basically forcing him to become head of the family. In results to this, Roethke suffered from depression and other mental illnesses, and not to mention, his mental breakdown in 1935. Influenced by this tragic event, he then later wrote “My Papa’s Waltz” in 1942. Nevertheless, with his use of diction and sensory imagery, he successfully provided readers with an unexpected controversy. As he writes about a precious memory, he provides the readers with certain terms that illustrate a perturbing image, while at the same time making them appear sweet with others, leaving the reader on their own to interpret in their own
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