The Usage of Imagery in the Poem My Papa’s Waltz

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

We enter the poem through the son’s comic memory of his drunken father dancing with him, but as we move deeper into the poem it becomes clear that the perspective of the child having grown up remembering this occasion long after his father has died.

The phrase ‘But I hung on like death’ is not spoken in a child’s voice – it is, rather, the voice of the child having grown into an adult, capable of abstraction, now looking back and trying to reenter the scene when he danced with his father. The son is recalling clinging to his father’s leg as soon as he gets home and being waltzed, (scraping his head on a buckle, or belt) every time his father missed a stepped. At the point, when his dad misses a stage in his waltz, the kid’s ear rubs against his dad’s belt clasp because, well, the dad is also drunk. This detail additionally demonstrates that the kid is very little. The alcoholic aspect of the story is the separation between the man and his child. The reader gets the idea that he hasn’t seen his father all day because he has whiskey on his breath, (it is enough to make him dizzy) which probably suggests he worked all day and went to the bar.

The pans clattering (diction of violence) is not an abusive act, but another aspect of the drunken waltz, as the father is getting him and stumbling around the kitchen, with his son clinging to his leg all the while. Words like ‘battered’, ‘knuckle’, and ‘beat’ may indicate abuse, but really these words are to describe that the father is hard working, (the poem probably takes place in the early 50’s because the mother doesn’t say anything, just is reserved in the fact that her husband came home drunk). The mother’s differentiating articulation is evident in the utilization of the words “countenance” or face and “unfrown”, with their adjusted, long vowel sounds.

The utilization of the word face and unfrown is abnormal. The previous alludes to the mother’s outward appearance, the latter is not an appropriate word. The man is dedicated, needs a touch of fun with his child, yet when the local scene ends up muddled, the mother ends up displeased, maybe somewhat irritated. The son, be that as it may, is not loose and prepared for rest, since to endure the ‘waltz,’ he has needed to ‘stick’ to his dad’s shirt; he keeps on doing as such as he is diverted to bed. We sympathize with the sticking kid who is generally taken care of by the tipsy dad.

However, inside that move is a trace of edginess and an entire heap of dread. From the son’s viewpoint, the ‘waltz’ has been something to endure, not to appreciate. The poem is sad, it shows the story of a hardworking man with a family. He works all day, is stressed so he drinks, and barely sees his son and wife, because like the waltz, his life is circular.


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