“My Papa’s Waltz”

In “My Papa’s Waltz” Roethke expresses many forms of figurative language to build a world of images in the reader’s mind. Obviously there are many, many examples of imagery in this poem to paint a picture for the audience. One example I found and quickly grew fond of is “But I hung on like death”. (3) The first part is a great example of “personification” as death doesn’t actually hang on. It paints a picture of hanging on to the father like never before, once death happens it cant be undone so nothing will stop the child from letting go. Well, if you have read the poem you would know that is not the only example of imagery throughout the whole poem. The last one of many that I will mention is quite obvious. “ You beat time on my head/With a palm caked hard by dirt”. (13-14) The father let him or her know it was bedtime after a long hard day.


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