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Word Count: 423
My Papas Waltz In My Papas Waltz Roethke makes a point of how as a child he idolized his father despite his abuse and brutality The title carries great irony because although it is affectionately named My Papas Waltz immediately from the first line it portends the gravity of the poem Roethke effectively utilizes verbs to communicate that sense of asperity provoked by the drunkenness of his father for example hung romped battered scraped and beat lines 3 5 10 12 13 These harsh verbs are contrasted with the repeated verb waltz a light three-step dance This is done to reflect the distinction between the innocence and naivet of the son versus the father who makes rough that which should be gentle his waltz dance The dance is representative of his nature The exuberance of the waltz dance is negated by the callousness of his manner as he stumbles around in a waltz Also the rhyme scheme is another counterpoint in that it supplements the cheerfulness and adds a childlike element although the content of the poem is solemn Much of this is depicted through the stunning use of imagery and diction The father is portrayed as an unclean violent drunk especially in lines 1 9-10 and 14 where factors such as the whiskey on his breath The hand that held my wristWas battered on one knuckle and a palm caked hard by dirt contribute more so to his repulsive ambiance They also introduce the father as a victimized character The fact that the Roethke admires his father so much implies that perhaps he is doing or has done something somewhat heroic to be deserving of this admiration in spite of this he becomes drawn into alcoholism This is his fall from grace created by a great weakness for alcohol The waltz being an eighteenth century dance usually performed by the elite class it serves as a excellent symbol for the fathers fall
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