My papas waltz – Salinas

Adrian Salinas

Ms. Nelson

English Period 3

March 1, 2012

Theodore Roethke

            In the poem ‘‘ My Papa’s Waltz ” by Theodore Roethke, the poet uses figurative language such as similes, metaphors, and personification to creat the theme that is child abuse cannot be tolerated even if you are drunk.

Theodore Roethke was abused physically by his dad. He says “your breath can make a small boy dizzy” because his dad might have hit him and made him dizzy. He uses a metaphor in this because ehe is comparing the whiskey on his breath to the dizziness of the boy.

Theodore had a rough life as a child. He says “ My mother’s countenance could not unfrown itself ” because she did not like the fact that his dad was hitting him for no reason. In this part, he uses personification because he is saying the countenance is being used as a action of a human wich is the frown.

After Theodore’s beating he had to go to bed still holding on to his t-shirt. “ You waltz me off to bed still clinging to your shirt”. He was still getting beat even after he was done in the room. Waltzing off to bed means that his dad walbroken mirror 3ked him off to bed while getting beat.

See if your drinking irresponsibly you can possibly injure your child especially if you have an anger problem. So lets fight for the kids who are being abused physically or mentally especially if the person isn’t drunk.




Theodore Roethke-Salinas

Roethke, Theodore Huebner
Born: May 25, 1908, in Saginaw, Michigan
Died: August 1, 1963, on Bainbridge Island, Washington
Vocations: Poet, Professor, Scholar, Critic

As a child Theodore spent most of his time in a greenhouse owned by his dad and uncle. Also he was not expected to be a major American poet. When he was a high school freshman he had a Red Cross campaign translated into 26 different languages. He strove to be liked by people who thought brains were “sissys”.  That was when he started to drink and hang with ” the guys “. He continued  on to the University of Michigan where he got a tough bear – like image (He weighed 225 pounds) then he developed a fascination for gangsters. Roethke’s awareness grew at the University of Michigan.

  Along with these influences, the source of much of Roethke’s poetry was the notes he dutifully kept throughout his life. A measure of the devotion given to his craft can be found in his statement “I’m always working,” and indeed his pockets were seemingly always filled with jottings of striking thoughts and conversations. The introspective Roethke announced his bold “intention to use himself as the material for his art” through the title of his first published volume, Open House.

This energetic pursuit of both a teaching and a writing career at times understandably affected his outlook. “I’m teaching well,” he wrote in 1947, “—if I can judge by the response—but haven’t done one thing on my own.

Roethke’s death, of a heart attack while swimming in a friend’s pool, was “an incalculable loss to American Literature,” wrote Ralph Mills. While the poet was drinking much and suffering in his later years from a combination of ailments, including arthritis, bursitis, and periods of manic excitement, his poetry was reaching its peak and earned this praise from James Dickey: “Roethke seems to me the finest poet now writing in English.


“Theodore Roethke- – Poetry, Poems, Bios & More.” Web. 27 Feb. 2012.