Reading Bewteen the lines

             To help understand poetry better the reader must look at the poem in two different ways. The first way a reader should look at a poem is by denotation. This means a person must read the poem through and look at the actual or literal meaning of a poem. A second way a reader should look at the poem is through the use of connotation. Opposite of denotation, connotation is the additional meaning that a word, image, or phrase may mean. Two poems, "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke and "Metaphor" by Sylvia Plath can be analyzed using connotation and denotation.
             Looking at "My Papa's Waltz" literally, the reader sees a child remembering times with his father when he was a boy. Readers will see the title of the poem and think that the piece is about a rough and silly waltz with his father. The pattern of the rhyming words such as "breath" and "death" or "shelf" and "itself" support the view that this poem is a happy waltz. A waltz-like rhythm of this piece adds to the literal view of the poem being about a childhood encounter.
             The first few lines of the poem talk about the narrator's dad drinking somewhat heavily. "The whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy" (1,2). The next two lines go on to say that even though his dad drinks and it is hard at times, the narrator still loves him greatly. The next Stanza talks about the waltz getting a little rough and the two knocking pans off from the shelf. "We romped until the pans slid from the kitchen shelf" (5,6). The mother is of course frowning at this situation because she knows she will have to clean it up later. Stanza three gives you a mental picture of them dancing by saying that the father is holding the boy's hand with his battered knuckle. "The hand that helf my wrist was battered on one knuckle" (9,10). The boy is short and only up to the father&a...

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Reading Bewteen the lines. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:04, July 31, 2021, from