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My Papa's Waltz

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Jessica Mazzurco

on 16 April 2013

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Transcript of My Papa's Waltz

Created By: Jessica Mazzurco and Lexie Crotty My Papa's Waltz
By: Theodore Roethke My Papa's Waltz The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death.
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mothers countenance
Could not frown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt.
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging me to your shirt. Connotations My right ear scraped a buckle. Symbols Waltz Theme Even though your loved ones might not always be there for you, you must understand that they try their best to do what makes you happy. Facts on Theodore Roethke Theodore Roethe was born on May 25, 1908 and died on August 1, 1963. Theodore is an American poet, who is known as one of the most influential poets of his generation. Theodore is a teacher, poet, and author. Words to Know Countenance- Appearance; especially the look or expression of the face. Romped- To have fun or enjoy oneself. Waltz- A dance performed by a couple, who turn rhythmically around and around . Paraphrase As the father and son are dancing, the boy notices the smell of whiskey on his father's breath. The amount of whiskey on his breath could make a young boy sick, but he still hangs on like death since his father is having a hard time standing on his own. Dancing together was not easy. Stanza 1 Stanza 2 We waltzed through the kitchen, making a mess as the pans fell from the kitchen shelves. My mothers facial expression would not stop frowning. Stanza 3 Battered- To hit heavily and repeatedly with violent blows. My father's hand that held my wrist was injured on one of his knuckles. Every time my father misses a step in the dance, my ear would scrape against his belt buckle. Stanza 4 My father patted the top of my head with his dirty palms. He then waltzed me off to bed, but I did not want to go to bed so I clinged on my father's shirt. Poetic Terms and Devices My Papa's Waltz The title has a lot to do with our understanding of the poem. It sets up the scene as to what the poem is going to be about. In this case, we know it is going to be talking about a son and a father who are dancing.
Also once you look at the word waltz we know this is a three-beat dance, and after reading the poem we can see each line has three beats too. Simile
But I hung on like death. Alliteration
Such waltzing was not easy Hyperbole
We romped until the pans slid from the kitchen shelf. Metaphor
You beat time on my head. Personification
My mother's countenance
could not unfrown itself. Explanations This simile explains that the young boy cannot let go of his father and he is so desperate to spend time with him, even if he is drunk. The mention of alliteration in the poem makes the poem sound more enjoyable and loving, which can connect to the father-son relationship that they share in the poem as they are dancing together. Alcohol Abuse In this hyperbole. we can notice that as the two dance together they are dancing roughly and energetically which cause the pans to fall from there place. When reading this metaphor, we can get an idea of roughness as in an abusive way, that the father may actually be beating his son on his head. After reading this, we get an idea of a mother with a frown on her face, as she watched her son and husband dance around the kitchen. It seems as if she disapproves of this. The word buckle can suggest another meaning other than just the use as a belt buckle. We know that a belt is used to hit another person. The word buckle may be a way to tells us readers that the poet is trying to tell us that a father is abusing his own son. Positive Negative Opposing Views There are two ways you can look at this poem. Some people may look at it as if the father is a hardworking man who is trying to provide for his family. An example of this is when the poet says, "With a palm caked hard by dirt." He gets home late from work and spends little time with his son, so he tries to dance with him to make up for what he has done, and the son doesn't want to go to bed because he still clings to his shirt, and if he really was abusing his own son, he would not cling onto his shirt. You can also look at this poem in a negative way. Some may think this is a story about a son and an abusive father. We may think this from the line,"My right ear scraped a buckle." or from, "The whiskey on your breath." We can tell that the father is drunk from these lines and is grasping onto his son for help, but in a very physical way. Many people have different views on what they think this poem is about. What do you think the poet is trying to tell us? Rhyme Scheme The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death.
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mothers countenance
Could not frown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt.
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging me to your shirt. A B A B C D D E F F G G H H I I Tone/Shift The tone consists of love, and pain. It continues to shift. In stanza 1, we see a boy struggling to dance with his drunk father. In stanza 2, we see more of a fun and light story being to told about the happiness of the father and son when they dance. In stanza 3, we see a more physical setting of the father with beat up hands. In the last stanza, we see a more confusing setting that the father is "beating" his son on the head, but yet the child still clings to his shirt because he doesn't want to go to bed.
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