Theodore Roethke The Waking Poem

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Paradox, Figurative Language and Sounds in Theodore Roethke’s
“The Waking”
Written in form of a villanelle - five tercets and a quatrain with rhyme scheme for tercets ABA and ABAA for quatrain, the poem begins with “I wake to sleep and take my waking slow” which is seemingly contradictory process of life – the cycle of a living (waking) which leads to dying (sleeping). There exist two main lines as the key point containing the theme of the poem that are repeated interchangeably at the end of each stanza and ended by being restated together in the last two lines of final stanza. The tittle itself “the waking” as the central idea of the poem depicts the poet’s vision towards the idea of living (waking) that eventually will lead merely to dying (sleeping). As an extra circumstance, the poem applies the pronoun “I” as the point of view which is probably intended to show the poet’s eagerness in communicating his own experience to readers. The poet apparently expresses a kind of paradoxes and ambiguities through his poem. These paradoxes accompanied by some …show more content…

It apparently expresses the presence of a state of consciousness that changes during sleep and the speaker determines to make the most of the journey in a limited time of life. The word “sleep” in some religions becomes a metaphor for death. However, death is not the end which means that life can continue either in form of reincarnation or resurrection. The following line containing alliteration points out another paradox “I feel my fate in what I cannot fear”. This line leads someone to question how he/she can fear of what is unknown by him/her. By feeling fate instead of fearing it, it means that someone takes in instead of turning down. The last line means to solely move and receive “where I have to go” which is the fate without having a distinctive

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