Eng 105 Essay

Submitted By ttanner888
Words: 939
Pages: 4

Eng 105
Patrick Callan
Question #2

Reflecting upon the Past The poems “My Papa’s Waltz” written by Theodore Roethke and “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, address the theme of self-reflection through conflict. Roethke and Hayden grew up in the same time period, where father’s showed their love through providing for their family rather than emotionally showing it. Although both poets feature a speaker in their poem experiencing self-conflict, they provide adversely different poem structures. Roethke’s poem structure relies on rhythm, metaphors and title significance, while Hayden relies heavily on deep imagery, alliteration and mood. In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” Roethke utilizes certain literary elements to aid in illustrating the internal conflict that the speaker faces. One element Roethke focused on while writing this poem was rhythm. “The whiskey on your breath.”(line 1): The bold font represents the parts of the line that are stressed. Trimeter means that there are three stressed and unstressed beats in every line. Roethke’s choice of iambic trimeter in this poem is very significant in the fact that it mirrors the waltz. It takes this poem from simply being a story about a waltz and transforms it into a waltz itself. Another technique Roethke used in the structuring of this poem is title significance. Even before reading the first line of the poem, we understand that it’s going to be about the waltz. This strategy allows him to concentrate on the rhythm and language of the poem, rather than wasting lines explaining what is going on. All of these techniques are tools Roethke used to depict the self-conflict the speaker experiences throughout the poem. The speaker is torn between the natural tendency to love his father and the instinct to avoid physical harm. “At every step you missed my right ear scraped a buckle.” These missed steps are a metaphor for the father’s mistakes throughout the speaker’s life. The “scrapped ear” is the pain that Roethke faced as a result of his father’s mistakes in life. (line 12) The speaker struggles throughout the poem determining if his father’s love is worth the pain that coincides with it. The speaker fights his instinct to push pain away and at the end of the poem is still “clinging” to his father’s shirt.(line 16) The choice of clinging onto his father’s shirt in line 16 represents the choice the speaker made in response to his conflict. The speaker interpreted his father’s intentions as being positive, even though the outcomes weren’t always healthy for him. In the poem “Those Winter Sundays” Hayden utilizes deep imagery, alliteration and mood to set the groundwork for the self-conflict that the speaker experiences. The poem starts off with vivid imagery of the cold. The “blueblack cold”; this is an interesting way to describe cold. (line 2) This word “blueblack” create a dissonance that intensifies the harsh cold the speaker’s father experiences in the morning. Hayden followed this with “Then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze.”(lines 3,4,5) These lines use alliteration to set the mood, “Banked” and “blaze,” “weekday” and “weather”. These words are very harsh, which mirror the cold and unhappy conditions that his father has become accustomed to setting a sympathetic mood for the poem. The mood quickly changes from sympathetic to worried, when the speaker’s connotation of his father emerges in lines 8 and 9. “slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house.”(lines