Essay My Papa 's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

777 Words Apr 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
When the reader first analyzes the poem, it naturally comes of as harsh or scary. The first thought that comes to mind is that the drunken father is abusing the child. Although after further analysis of the poem it seems as though that is not the case. The poem doesn’t sound as though it was the happiest memory of the child’s life, but it wasn’t a memory he feared either. In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” written by Theodore Roethke, the speaker’s experience seems to be a positive one based on the rhythm and word choice.
The tone throughout the poem does not suggest hate or hostility, but instead has a rhyme scheme that has an even beat to it suggesting a positive tone. In the fourth stanza, line 13 and 15 then 14 and 16 rhyme. This offset rhyme gives a certain constant beat to poem. This rhythm could be compared to the buoyant sound of a waltz. This is seen all throughout the poem. “You beat time on my head/ With a palm caked hard by dirt/ Then waltzed me off to bed/ Still clinging to your shirt.”(13-16) If this poem were about pain and resentment it would not flow so smoothly, instead it would be harsh and blunt. If the poem were intended to have a scary effect, the beat would be different. For example, a poem written by Martin Dejnicki, titled, “Old Scary Witch” has a faster rhythm to it. “Old scary Witch lived down the street, 
Insects and rats she would eat. 
Acting evil was her game, 
Knew the spells to make a flame” (Dejnicki 1-4). This poem has a faster beat so when the…

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