Comparing and Contrasting "My Papa's Waltz" and "Piano"

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In comparing and contrasting the poems, "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke and "Piano" by D. H. Lawrence, the reader could also compare and contrast the childhood lives of the poets themselves. Roethke's father, Otto Roethke, was a drunk and a figure of terror to his son (Seager 26). His mother was an angry woman and Theodore was a desperate child consistently in the middle of his parent's opposition (Seager 28). D.H. Lawrence's father was a drunk, almost illiterate miner (Squires and Talbot 34). His mother; however, was educated, refined, and pious, ruling the lives of her sons (Squires and Talbot 42). Reviewing the form, tone, and imagery of both poems, the attitude of the boy towards his father in Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz" allows …show more content…

The reflection of each poet's childhood is displayed within these lines helping to build a tone for the memories of each narrator.

The tone of "My Papa's Waltz" differs from the tone in "Piano." The ironic tone of the first poem is one of a young man looking back in fear of his father. "But I hung on like death.../The hand that held my wrist.../You beat time on my head..." (3-13). The reader senses a painful scene, which the father appears to hurt and demean his son. On the other hand, the tone of "Piano" is more melancholy. "In spite of myself.../Betrays me back.../To the old Sunday evenings at home..." (5-7). The reader can feel the lyrical and longing tone in the narrator's description of a man who wishes he could go back in time to his childhood where he listened happily to the sounds of the family piano. Roethke's tone towards his father is reflected in the anger and resentment coming from the boy to his father in his poem, while Lawrence's tone towards his childhood memories reflect a longing to return to the love and happiness of his youth. Both poets use their poem's tone to create specific imagery solidifying the reader's perception of each boy's state of mind.

The imagery of "My Papa's Waltz" also differs from the imagery of "Piano." The imagery in "My Papa's Waltz" expresses

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