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I'll let you in a little revelation about my favorite usernames in my virtual sites. First is about my Mikimoto Angel pen name. Mikimoto is a famous brand of pearl accessories in America. I first saw that brand in Vogue Magazine. I got mesmerized by that label, and I thought of using it. I just added Angel from my name "Angela". Thus, the formation of Mikimoto Angel.

For my other pen name Mystic Nymph, the word mystic really came from the show Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog. I used to be so hooked to that show. I am also obsessed with mythologies, and nymphs are mythical creatures depicted as beautiful young women who are considered as guardians of objects and places in nature. Thus, the evolution of Mystic Nymph.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Critical Analysis on My Papa's Waltz

My Papa's Waltz is a poem created by an award-winning poet, Theodore Roethke. It contains four stanzas that have four lines each. It consists of a rhyme scheme. A child is the one who speaks in the poem.

The child talks about his father who got drunk. The first line shows us that the father is really that intoxicated. It is because when someone drinks a little liquor, it doesn't really affect the breath that much. But the father in the poem has already drunk too much. It is supported by the second line, “Could make a small boy dizzy.”

What plays a big impact on the first line is actually the whiskey. Drinking just a shot of it could make you a bit tipsy. it is a strong, distilled liquor made from grain. maybe the reason why the author used whiskey as the liquor drunk by the father, is that it is one of the most popular of alcoholic beverages.


But I hung on like death. this line connotes the passivity of the child towards his father. the child's passive reaction could mean that he's afraid that his father might get so irritated if he reacts. Of course, when someone's full of alcohol intake, he could do something out of his control. He could be that violent. the child just became watchful of his actions to get rid of his father's wrath. One more reason could be that the child has already gotten used to his drunkard father. he knew then what would be the scenario whenever his father gets drunk.

The child's passivity is associated with death basically because a corpse doesn't have life anymore. A dead person is already passive, just like the child. He doesn't have the strength to retaliate.

Such waltzing was not easy. With this line, we could anticipate that something could be going on, aside from the father being drunk. it can be noticed that the author uses irony.


Based on context, the author used the dance waltz to indicate that the father might have gotten that intense because of the whiskey. The father's situation might have led him to a terrible agitation to the point of losing his self-control. I can picture out that because Roethke used waltz as an action, the father abused his child by dragging or pushing or whatever violent acts that are somewhat similar to the actions when doing waltz.

History says that waltz was once criticized and opposed to by moralists because of its closer hold and rapid turning movements. religious orders also regarded it as vulgar and sinful. An English magazine Belgravia also stated that waltz is a wicked dance.

Such notion about waltz might be the reason why Roethke decided to incorporate the said dance in his poem. The dance was used as the object of irony. It made readers picture out the metaphor involved. It is not actually used as vague, instead it adds up a sense of thrill among the readers.

The second stanza of the poem begins with the metaphorical description of what the father's drunkenness turned out to be. We romped until the pans slid from the kitchen shelf. That clearly showed the violence involved. One can not destroy anything around if he doesn't become so wild.

The line also showed the dominance of the father. The child and his mother did not look up to him, instead they fear him. Maybe they're thinking that they should just stay calm as possible. If they freak out, the man of their house could kill them. This is supported by the line, “My mother's countenance could not unfrown itself.”


If the mother fights back, then this could all the more be the reason to trigger the father's agitation. the mother showed her fear towards her husband who turned out to be abusive.

The third stanza elaborates more on the physical abuse done by the father to his child. The hand that held my wrist was battered in one knuckle. At every step you missed my right ear scraped a buckle. these lines describe the harsh acts received by the child. By these lines, we could say that there is a child abuse happening. This could eventually traumatize the child at risk.

Just like the third stanza, the last one also talks about the physical violence. the harm done by the father includes hitting the child's head until they reached the bed room. Since I assumed that the child in this poem is a boy, it could be that the father still beats the child until it already hurts that much. Clinging to something when you're totally hurt is natural among many of us. for an instance, when you're tooth is being removed of course it will hurt a lot especially without anaesthesia. You tend to cling to something nearby or hold something tighter to release pain or tension. I could say that the child must be very by then since he clings to his father's shirt.

If my assumption is wrong, and the child is a girl, the last two lines might be of the sexual abuse part. The word bed connotes something sensual. It is undeniable that whenever we hear the word bed, we associate it with sex.

With the constant reading of this poem, I guess i can conclude that this poem is a commentary on child abuse. This is a poem that speaks for those abused children. It is a dramatic poem that helps us understand the situation of these children. It makes us feel the grief of those suffering abuse.

All images in this post are not intended for copyright infringement.

1 comment:

living it up said...

i happen to stumble thru your account via rilag's blog!
and because i am so "ingitera", i wonder where you got those clips where you were able to stick your pic...like the one in the billboard and the mirror and the rest of them..
was this edited in photoshop or readily available in the net...
please...can you share it with me...
thanks...muah*

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