“My Papa's Waltz” by Theodore Roethke and, “Piano” by D. H. Lawrence both recollect a childhood memory. The two poems are also different eventhough they are talking about a childhood memory. The poems have the same background, but in “My Papa's Waltz” it is a boy and his father and in “Piano” it is a boy and his mother; one is positive and one is negative; and lastly the feeling of each poet is different in each poem.
Eventhough the two speakers share a childhood memory with a parent, the gender of the parent is different in each poem. In “My Papa's Waltz” a boy is supposedly dancing with his drunken father. While in “Piano” a boy is listening to a lady play the piano and singing, and that reminds him of how his mother used to play the piano and sing to him when he was younger. In Roethke's poem a little boy's father comes home drunk one night, and the little boy clings to him while he stumbles off to bed. The poet refers to the man's drunkenness and him trying to walk as the waltz. On the contrary, Lawrence's poem is talking about a man listening to a lady playing the piano. As he listens, he is reminded of when he was a young boy and how he used to sit at his mother's feet as she played the piano and sang to him.
Words and their connotation in these two poems illustrate their negative and positive aspects. Lawrence's poem is more of a positive poem. The reader can tell that it is a positive memory because of the word usage. The word “smile” in line four of Lawrence's poem is just one of of many positive words in the poem. The line, “And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings” (Lawrence Line 4), says the boy's mother singing a song to him and smiling to him as he sits at her feet and looks up at her. However, the poem “My Papa's Waltz” is more of a negative memory because of the word choice used. The best example is the word “whiskey”. In the line, “The whiskey on your breath” (Roethke Line 1), whiskey paints a...
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