Literary Devices in This is Just to Say, the Red Wheelbarrow and My Papa's Waltz

Published: 2021-09-10 23:50:10
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Category: Poems

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The poems “This Is Just to Say,” “The Red Wheelbarrow,” and “My Papa’s Waltz” convey many different themes. These poems use many different literary devices. William Carlos Williams and Theodore Roethke use the rhythm of the poem, meaningful diction, imagery, point of view, and symbolism to display the many themes of these poems and explain the meaning of each poem.
The style of the poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow,” conveys the theme of perseverance. The word choices “so much depends upon…” makes the reader want to know exactly what all depends upon the red wheelbarrow. The readers are not quite sure what “so much” is. Although the reader is unsure of what so much exactly is, the reader knows that an abundant amount of “something” depends upon the red wheelbarrow. The rhythm of the poem is used to display a wheelbarrow, literally. The way the lines are longer in Lines 1, 5, and 7 displays the way a wheel barrow appears. The longer lines represent the handles, while the shorter lines represent the wheels. Williams uses this style because it makes the reader see what they are reading of. Williams also only uses sixteen words to convey his powerful message about how “so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow.” Numbers are normally unimportant to a poem. It’s normally about the message that is conveyed, but Williams is a genius because he conveys his message so powerfully with only sixteen words. Williams also uses colors to convey his message. The approach used with the colors make the reader feel what’s going on. The use of red is also important because it’s very bright and when thinking of a red wheelbarrow it makes the reader feel happy and visualize the sun beaming down upon it. The rhythm of free verse in the poem, “This Is Just to Say,” helps convey the message of freedom. Free verse is parallel to rap. When rapping, an artist is free to say whatever they feel. Just like a rapper, the poet displays that he is free to say whatever he likes. Williams seems to be thinking aloud and the title of this poem demonstrates exactly that. “This Is Just to Say…” basically saying this is all I have to say. He is feeling guilt and regret for eating the plums. The second stanza reveals the intimacy between the poet and whomever he was writing to. If he had not eaten the plums she would’ve eaten them in the morning. This poem is something that people use in life because if we wouldn’t take some of our spouse’s things for granted then a lot of things wouldn’t happen. Williams seems to be reminiscing on what eating the plums has brought him. He begins to feel guilty in the second stanza. The symbolism in this poem exemplifies many things. The choice to use a plum verses any other fruit is important only because plum opens up in the “u” and closes back with the “m” as the poets mouth does as he devours this fruit. Although this poem can be analyzed in many different ways, this poem could easily be overanalyzed because it simply about a couple who isn’t having too many problems, but the poet is feeling guilty for eating the plums that are originally for his wife.
Theodore Roethke uses “My Papa’s Waltz” to reimagine a childhood encounter with his father. This poem symbolizes the relationship between the two and the point of view of this poem demonstrates the theme of love. This poem could be a good and bad memory all in one. This poem also uses the significant number sixteen, but this time there are sixteen powerful stanzas. The waltz itself is used as a metaphor for life, but just like a waltz ends, so does life. This is what the writer is disappointed about because although his father seems like an alcoholic in the first stanza, what child doesn’t still love his father despite flaws. Although this type of relationship is unhealthy, any child will still love his father despite the fact that he is doing wrong. The second stanza seems to be when the father is sober. The fun that they are able to have is displayed throughout this stanza and shows that even the mother couldn’t disapprove. The third stanza shows bad qualities of the father when he is drunk. It shows that he is abusive. Maybe the father is not only abusive to the child, but the mother also. It shows how he transforms from being so gentle to very hardcore and mean. The child is trying to find beauty throughout this hard time in his life. He makes this a waltz because it’s more beautiful that saying, “The Day My Papa Beat Me.” This shows that the child still loves his father. This poem is written from a grown up point of view but the poet doesn’t show any hatred towards the father. The poets talk about “hanging on” and “clinging” to his father shirt twice. This is ironic because it shows that he still loved his father throughout his childhood and that he does that now throughout his adult years although his father isn’t with him.
In consummation, these poems use many different literary devices to demonstrate the theme of these poems. “The Red Wheelbarrow,” “This Is Just to Say,” and “My Papa’s Waltz” have different meanings, but the theme of importance is used in all three of these poems.

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