Compare And Contrast My Papa's Waltz And Those Winter Sundays

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Abbas Mohamed-Saeed
Ms. Volkening
10 March 2023
Poetry Comparative Essay Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz" and Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" are two poems that explore the theme of family relationships and the complex emotions that arise within them. Both poets use various literary devices to express their ideas and feelings about their respective fathers and the impact that they have had on their lives. This essay will compare and contrast the two poems, examining the similarities and differences in the use of literary devices.
Firstly, both poems use imagery to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind. Roethke's poem is full of sensory descriptions, such as "The whiskey on your breath / Could make a small boy dizzy," …show more content…

Roethke's poem is structured around the metaphor of the waltz, which is used to represent the relationship between the father and son. The dance is described as "clinging" (Roethke, line 16) and "waltzing,"(Roethke, line 4) suggesting a close physical bond between the two. However, the dance is also described as rough and scraping which can also be seen as a metaphor for the difficult and sometimes painful interactions between fathers and sons. Similarly, Hayden's poem uses the metaphor of fire to represent the father's love and sacrifice for his family. The father's early morning efforts to warm the house are described as cracking and firing, which can be seen as a metaphor for his own inner strength and determination to provide for his family. The use of this metaphor emphasizes the depth of the father's love, despite his struggles and sacrifices. Another literary device that both poems use is tone. Roethke's poem has a playful and nostalgic tone, with the use of words like "romped" (Roethke, line 5) and "clinging" (Roethke, line 16) suggesting a fond memory of his father. However, the tone also has a hint of darkness and danger, with the description of the "battered" (Roethke, line 10) knuckles and the "ear-scrap(ing)" (Roethke, line 12) dance. This shows that the father-son relationship was not always easy or …show more content…

The use of the phrase "Sundays too my father got up early" (Hayden, line 1) creates a sense of routine and repetition, emphasizing the father's commitment to his family. The tone is also tinged with regret, as the speaker reflects on how he never “thanked" (Hayden, line 5) his father for his sacrifices. This suggests a sense of missed opportunities and a deeper complexity to the father-son relationship. Lastly, both poems use sound devices to enhance the emotional impact of the language. Roethke's poem uses alliteration, with the repeated "w" sounds in "waltzed me off to bed" (Roethke, line 15) creating a sense of movement and rhythm. The use of internal rhyme in "We romped until the pans / Slid from the kitchen shelf" (Roethke, line 5-6) also adds to the playful tone of the poem. Similarly, Hayden's poem uses repetition, with the repeated phrase "What did I know" (Hayden, line 13) emphasizing the speaker's regret and sense of

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