Connecting Carver's to Roethke's poetry

Essay by stefanotasCollege, UndergraduateB+, April 2010

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Connecting Carver's to Roethke's poetry

Raymond Carver "Ultra Marine" and Theodore Roethke "My Papa's Waltz" present similar themes, but convey their message using different poetic styles. In "Ultra-Marine", through the use of metaphors the reader witnesses his despair and depression on his outlook of life. He is lonely and somewhat angry about the things happening in his life. He sees no hope for the future and all his memories are that of sadness, pain and unrealized dreams. In "My Papa's Waltz, the poet is denouncing child abuse through the relationship he portrays between an abusive father and his son. What are the common themes present in Carver and Roethke poetry? What are the differences in style between them? Even though Carver's long narrative poems and Roethke very rhythmic and metaphoric poems have different styles, they are able to convey the same themes of loneliness, desperateness and anger to the reader.

Taking a close look at "My Papa's Waltz", we realize each stanza deals with parental abuse hidden under the poet's words. The violent father mistreated his son where, one could smell "the whiskey on your breath" (Roethke 1: 508). In the poem, almost every stanza has a specific theme. In the first and the last stanza, the reader is able to witness desperateness. The boy "hung on like death" (Roethke 3: 508) when it was too hard to hold on. The boy is so desperate his father's love. Even when his dad is hitting him really hard he doesn't let go. Also, in the last stanza we can see the same kind of action. While the father beats him "beat time on my head" (Roethke 13: 508) he basically "clings to his shirt" (Roethke 16: 508) not letting go even with the pain that the father is causing him. Both...