My Papa’s Waltz


In “My Papa’s Waltz” Roethke expressed many forms of figurative language to enhance the visual aspect for the reader.  One example of imagery is evident in “But I hung on like death.”(3). I visualize a young boy who is standing on his father’s two muddy boots, scared but he is also thrilled.  The young boy has his eyes clenched closed and has his small hands wrapped around his father’s stained shirt.  He is scared because other times his father waltz’ with him his father falls and they both get hurt. Another form of figurative language that Roethke uses to enhance the visual aspect is a metaphor. “He beat time on my head” (15). They are comparing two unlike things, his head, and time.  This metaphor tells me that his father is taping the rhythm of the waltz onto the boy’s head.  This is helping him keep the proper time signature that the waltz was made to have.  This poem is full of figurative language, which is great because it helps the reader gain a better knowledge of this beautiful poem.

Justin Hauber


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