Volume: 3 pages

Format: MLA


For this assignment, you need to complete a thematic analysis of an assigned poem. This means that you will need to make an argument/construct a thesis statement about the poem’s theme or message. You then will demonstrate to readers that your argument is correct by showing how the poetic devices at work in your chosen poem support the thesis. This means that you’ll need to discuss several of the poetic/literary devices at work in the poem (tone, images, word choice, symbols, figurative language, denotative/connotative meanings, sound devices, form, meter, etc.).
For each of these literary devices (YOU NEED TO FIND ALL OF THEM IN THE POEM), make a claim about how that device works within the poem that you are analyzing, and how it relates to the main idea or “theme” of the poem. Begin with a full paraphrase of the poem, then use the literacy devices for analysis, finally come to a conclusion about the poems meaning.
The paper should have a clear introduction with a thesis statement stating your specific interpretation of the poem, the body should discuss the poem and the literary devices listed above as they relate to your thesis, and the conclusion should sum up your interpretations and how all of those devices come together to create a interesting poem with a significant theme.
You can use any research/source material in writing this essay; you may want to find out about the author’s biography or background or what other scholars are saying about this poem. However, you need to cite and properly document and information that is not your own. (Only include a couple sentences about his biography)
Your paper will be THREE PAGES, DOUBLE SPACED, MLA FORMAT WITH PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS AND A WORKS CITED PAGE (citing at least the anthology from which your poem is quoted).
ANTHOLOGY: Literature An introduction to fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing by Kennedy Gioia

The poem to analyze is as follows

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.

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