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My Papa's Waltz
Andrew Kokanoutranon

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My Papa's Waltz
Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

1. Identify the rhyme scheme of the poem


2. Identify 7 examples of diction and state each word's connotation.

Death – Dark and the unknown
Cling – Hold on tightly
Beat – Rhythm and music
Romped – To move around and stomping
Waltz – Dance and tango
Dizzy – Disoriented and stumbling
Whiskey – Drunk

3. Identify 3 sound devices in the poem

“Still clinging to your shirt” – Alliteration

“The Hand that held my wrist” – Alliteration

“Such waltzing was not easy” – Alliteration

4. Identify 4 images in the poem

“The whiskey on your breath” – Olfactory

“Slid from the kitchen shelf” – Tactile

“With a palm caked with dirt” – Visual

“Your beat time on my head” – Tactile

5. After examining your evidence, state the speaker's attitude toward his father. Justify your answer in a 3-4 sentence paragraph.

Through diction and imagery, the speaker gives off a tone of joyfulness and an appreciation for life. The speaker is looking back on his life and telling about the good memories he had as a child. He loves his fathers and he seems to miss the good times as a child.

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