Essay/Term paper: 'my papa's waltz' by theodor roethke
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Mid-Term Paper: Intro. to Poetry. "My Papa's waltz" by Theodor Roethke. Written by: Lior Ashkenazy. To:Dr. Ruth Kolani.
In Theodor Roethke's "My Papa's waltz" the reader finds a horrid experiance, the beating of a child by his father, which is told in a way of a romantic and beutifull dance - the waltz. The feeling one get from reading this poem is that the narrator, at least at the time in which the poem is written, does not look at this experience as something bad. He tries to beutify the experience by making it a waltz. He also, by means of images and rythem, shows the conflict between the readers, or the way any other 'normal' man will look at this experiance, and how he sees it, or wants it to be seen ( although he does not show his father as completley innocent). It can also be looked upon as the Petty Herst syndrom - meaning having a 'reality' so intense and strong that one feels incapable of any other 'reality', fearing it can and will be worse.
The poem is built of four stanzas( quatrain ), each consisting of four lines. The rhyme scheme is, in the first stanza - abab, in the second - cdcd, in the third - efef, and in the fourth - ghgh. The meter is trecet iamb ( stressed unstressed - three times per line ).
The central image in the poem is the metaphor in which the beatings are described as a waltz. The poet is led around the house, dancing - not beaten around. Which is also brought throu by the meter - trecet iamb - the beat of the waltz, thus the main image is shown through the meter as well, giving the reader more of the feeling of a dance in contrast to the 'secondery images' which are more associated with the rough experiance of a beating. Given such parameters the poet installs some sort of relaxation in the reader ( maybe even in himself ), in order to make the subject - the beating - more readable, and lessening the effect of the drunkness and the beatings, making his father more human. By this dance metaphor the whole routine of the beating is messeged. The drunken father, his breath " Could make a small boy dizzy", yet the boy hangs " on like death". The word death is important, usualy the word death, in love poems, shows truthfullness and undesputable love, as in marrige one promises to love to death, to never leave even if what is left is just a memory - as happens in this poem. The boy will love his father to end; although, a great bitterness remains in the memory - the drunkness, failure ( "every step you missed"), and the beating deriving from these failure and drunkness. For each failure " My right ear scraped a buckle " - The boy is acused for his fathers failures. Another way in which the love to the father is shown is the way in which the father is described, by which the poet shows his love to the father, and his longing to him, is by calling him "Papa" - not father. This word is used, often, to fathers which with one has a special relationship, a certian love. The title in itself is misleading, reading "My Papa's waltz" one will expect to find a poem about a father, good and loving, dancing this gentle dance, not, in ones eye not the poet, a beating father, a monster.Together with all these is the description of the father as poor man, one to be mercied. He is, as we already seen, a failure, he is drunken, propably a lot, for his breath reeks with " whiskey ", he is dirty - his hands " caked hard by dirt " and are " battered on one knucle" , all in all a poor man that all will pity, someone who needs love.
Inspite of these showings of his father as a person that he loved, and still does, the poet uses the 'secondery images' - the images outside the main image - to show that the brutality existed. He does not lessen the impact of these beatings or thier brutality.The beatings was so hard that the " pans Slid from the kitchen shelf ", the beatings were hard on the poet - " Such waltzing was not easy " - and also made a change in the boys point of life. The poet tells that the father beats " time on my head ", meaning the beatings made his childhood go away, time ran faster for him, beating him as his father did, as if making him mature faster than others, but he does not accuse his father of that. One accusing finger does rise, and that is toward the mother, who " Could not unfrown " her " countenance ", as if the poet's mother does not react in order to maintain this or that frown that will leave her 'undignified', as if stopping his father from beating him is not of her duties - putting the blame away from his father.
Another explanation, farfetched as it may sound, is that of the Petty Herst syndrom. The meaning of this syndrom is that one may enter into a state of life,a 'reality', that no matter how brutal or harsh it may be, once it is in his mind as an absolute reality, this reality will look as the most suitable reality, escape is not needable, and even when the person leaves this reality it will still, in retrospective, be the best situation he was ever been. It is possible that the narrator in this poem is 'afflicted' by this syndrome. He defends his father because to him it seems that this is the reality he should be in. He describes the beatings as a waltz beacause he sees it as such.
Although the poem is narrated retrospectively, from a grown up man point of view, something remains, the poet does not hate his father for the beating, on the contrary, he shows us that the love to his father is not, and never was lost. And twice during the poem - he talks about " But I hung on " in the first stanza, and " Still clinging to your shirt." in the fourth stanza, which gives the feeling that he loved and stayed with his father during his childhood, and that he does that even now when his childhood is no longer with him.
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Great Research Paper Ideas On Poetry For You To Consider
Writing poetry is considered an art form by many people and one can see why. Even none enthusiasts often find themselves caught in the magic of masterfully crafted sentences, a good example of this is popular music, most of which, is poetry. When we speak of poems, one may envision short sentences, with a rhyming beat, but they can be much more than this.
Through history, scholars have studied poems by great authors, trying their best to uncover the hidden meanings of the lines, an enjoyable venture for many. Since we often place so much meaning in the words of poems, it is no surprise that many research projects are undertaken, often to find the truth of popular poems. Consider the following research topics on poetry:
- How did we as a species, come to develop the act of writing our feelings and emotions using poetic methods?
- What is the true purpose of poetry in our society? Can it be replaced with anything else?
- Does poetry have the ability to affect a persons mental state?
- How does one determine good poetry, from bad poetry?
- Is poetry a measure of our intelligence, or is it just another one of our whims?
- What would happen to society, if poetry were made illegal because of its ability to strongly influence our feelings?
- Is it possible for new forms of poetry to be developed, despite our intense exploration of the practice?
- The definition of a true poet and what it means to live the lifestyle necessary to be truly great.
- What is the true value of poetry to society as a whole?
- If poetry is considered a form of art, why is it not displayed in galleries, in the very same way that paintings are?
- What set apart the great poets of history from the rest? What was so different about them that they were able to become legends through their words alone?
- The definition of a poem is very loose, how is this possible while maintaining such sensitive features?
- What is the most significant defining factor of a good poem compared to a bad one?
- Is it possible to create an impressive, badly done poem?
- Should poetic speech become an official part of school curriculum, very much like a foreign language subject is taught?
- The benefits of good poetry to the world.
- The most important poem of all time.