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A poem is a prearrangement of words holding musicality and meaning. Poems are used in literature to pass the poet’s messages to the readers. The poem “My Papa’s Waltz” is written by Theodore Roethke. In this lyric, the author relates his message to the readers about the relationship between a father and a son and some domestic violence that a child undergoes as a result of drunkenness. Theodore Roethke uses different styles to make the poem interesting and easy to understand for the readers. The poet applies literary stylistic strategies in the poem to drive his point home. The use of these techniques, such as rhyme, stanzas, content, and others, is aimed at helping the poet to deliver his message to the readers. These styles are brought into play to make the poem captivating and fascinating to the audience (Hugh & Harmon, 2003). The purpose of this paper is to explain the elements that make this literary work engaging. The writing also seeks to educate the reader about the components of this poem and their effects on the reader’s life or opinion.

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Rhyme is the recurrence of similar sounds. In this poem, the rhyme that is found in the end rhyme. This occurs as the last word in a line or after every two lines. In the poem, “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke rhyme is found in every stanza after every two lines. For instance, in the first stanza, rhyme can be seen in the words “breath” and “death” as well as “dizzy” and “easy.” Rhyme makes a poem to flow in a musical manner and sound in lyrics to the reader. However, in rhyme, some of the words can be used to offer a metaphoric sense to the expression, different from their dictionary interpretation. For example, in this poem, the word “dizzy” is used to explain the boy’s discomfort over his father’s drunkenness.


Stanzas are a sequence of lines arranged together and divided by a blank line from additional stanzas. Stanzas are equivalent to a paragraph in an article. One way in which a stanza can be distinguished is through counting the number of lines. There are different types of stanzas such as a two-line stanza known as a couplet. In the case of this poem, it has 4 lines in every stanza: a factor that categorizes it as a quatrain. This aspect makes “My Papa’s Waltz” special since the numbers of lines are enough to give an explanation and they are not to lead to boredom. The poem has an average number of lines, which enables the poet with a chance to deliver his message in a way that it is easy to understand (Lehman & Brehm, 2006).

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“My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke demonstrates the relationship within a family, effects of alcohol and domestic violence as well as insecurity. In the poem, the creator describes how alcohol affects the family leading to the abuse of children and insecurity. As illustrated in the lyric, the mother of the child is not in a position of helping the boy because of the violence caused by alcohol. The content of the poem concerns issues that happen in the surroundings of every individual: a factor that makes the poem relate to real-life (Roethke, 2006). As a result of this, the literary work sounds interesting to readers owing to it appears to be part of the real, maybe even their own life.

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In conclusion, the elements in this poem have contributed to changing my opinion regarding the address of alcohol usage and child abuse, and family relationships. The flow of “My Papa’s Waltz” in connection with the content makes the reader understand the problems associated with the use of alcohol. It also enables the reader to realize the problems that children undergo whenever there is a domestic misunderstanding between them and their parents. As found in this poem, misunderstandings can erupt as a result of alcoholism among others, and result in child abuse, which is prohibited and punishable by law.

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