Meter and Rhythm Described in My Papa's Waltz

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My Papa 's Waltz" 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 -
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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,

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