My Papa's Waltz Literary Devices

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A good father is someone who makes you feel safe, someone you can count on. However, everyone has different parents. Some people have hardworking, loving fathers, and other people have alcoholic, abusive ones. In the poem, “My Papa’s Waltz”, by Theodore Roethke, the speaker, who is a young boy, waltzes through the house with his alcoholic father. The poem is ironic because the poem is very well organized and the speaker uses the word “waltz”, which should be an organized dance, but the scene in the poem is unorganized and even chaotic.
Roethke, in his poem composed of four stanzas with four lines each, uses alliteration, rhymes, plenty but somewhat unclear imagery, and irony to describe an affectionate scene between a father and son. The father hurts his son because he is careless as they dance. However, the son is willing to tolerate the uncomfortable acts of his father because he really wants to spend time with his dad.
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He also uses alliteration, “waltzing was”, to make the poem more rhythmic. However this is ironic because the scene of the father and son does not have a rhythm. Additionally, the speaker says that “waltzing” (1.4.) with his father was not easy, but he “hung on like death” (1.3). The speaker uses the simile of hanging on like death to show that although the waltzing was challenging, he kept doing it for a specific reason. Perhaps, the speaker wants his alcoholic father to spend more time with him, so he is willing to endure his father’s breath to dance with him because that may be the only way or only time his father spends time with him. The rhyme scheme of the first stanza and the rest of the poem is ABAB, which is an organized structure just like waltzing is, but as the poem progresses, the listener can see the irony that the waltzing between the father and the son is not
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