Analysis Of Theodore Roethke 's My Papa 's Waltz

958 Words Feb 8th, 2016 4 Pages
Cheating Death with Love: An Analysis of Form in Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” In “My Papa’s Waltz” there are a plethora of word twists, hidden meanings, and thought provoking terminology. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the meaning of the word waltz is “a dance performed to music in triple time by couples who, almost embracing each other, swing round and round in the same direction with smooth and even steps, moving on as they gyrate.” The term of the “waltz” in this poem has many intricate, definitions and meanings. The waltz is a formal dance that is being held inside of a kitchen, in a not so formal way or setting. As stated in line 5 “We romped until the pans / Slid from the kitchen shelf;” with the term “romp” meaning “to play roughly or energetically (esp. of children and animals); to sport or frolic in a lively, light-hearted, or boisterous manner.”(5-6) The son in this poem is enjoying the memory of their time romping whilst the father is being commemorated by his son.
The waltz done in the poem also corresponds with the way the poem has been written. A waltz is done in ¾ time which is “To start this off, think of a waltz. You might count it out like this: One two three one two three (and so on). That 's ¾ time; each measure is three quarter-notes long (or the equivalent number of notes of other lengths).” (Neilfein) As one reads there is a pattern that is known as an iambic pentameter, which means “a verse form consisting of…
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