My Papa's Waltz Poem Summary

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[Description] The speaker 's mother is upset.
[Response] "My Papa 's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke"
"My mother 's countenance/ Could not unfrown itself "(ll7-8)
The speaker 's mother is frowning, indicating that she 's upset, perhaps because her pots and pans are sliding from the "kitchen shelf"(ll 5-6) perhaps because her husband has been drinking. The speaker is dead, a casualty of World War II
“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” Randall Jarrell
“I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters”(I4) “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose”(I5)
From the title alone we know this poem takes place in World War II because that is when Ball Turret Gunners were used. We know the speaker is dead because of the last line, which
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We know she is a terrorist and that she blows up the bakery by the fact that she has dynamite up her skirt. We know she blows up a bakery by the line “you chose a bakery”(II9).
The speaker realizes that lovers can be deceitful.
“Neutral Tones” Thomas Hardy
“The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing” (III9) “keen lessons that love deceives” (IV13)
The smile was a form of deception. Despite his lover, smiling, the pair are about to break up. We know the speaker realizes that lovers can be deceitful because he describes the situation as a “keen lesson”(IV13).

The speaker as a child didn’t appreciate his father’s sacrifices.
“Those Winter Sundays” Rober Hayden
“No one ever thanked him” (I5) “Speaking indifferently to him”(III10) “what did I know”(III13)
We know the speaker did not appreciate his father’s sacrifice because the father was never thanked for the work he did.the Furthermore, the speaker talked indifferently about his father. The phrase “what did I know” indicates a later appreciation from the speaker because he looks back with appreciation that he did not express as a
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We know the speaker sees a death because he watches the whites of a soldier’s eye roll back. We know it was a terrible death because of the graphic details and the speaker describes it as “bitter” and “obscene” (I20-23).

The speaker’s father puts him to bed.
"My Papa 's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke “Then waltzed me off to bed” (IV15) We know it is the speaker’s father because of the title; it refers to his “Papa”. We know the speaker is being brought to bed because he describes his father waltzing him off to bed.

The speaker wishes the best for his lover.
“Lullaby” W. H. Auden
“Lay your sleeping head, my love” (I1) “Let the winds of dawn that blow Softly round your dreaming head” (IV32-33)
We know the speaker is talking to his lover because of the first line; he tells him to lay his head on his arm. We know he wishes the best for his lover because of the line “Let the winds of dawn that blow Softly round your dreaming head” (IV32-33). This means he hopes the day brings great things for his lover. Dawn can be interpreted as new beginnings and opportunities. The fact that it is blowing “softly” shows that the speaker wants him to not have to face anything hard when the new day comes with
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