My Papa’s Waltzpsychology Essay

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The Whipping and My Papa’s Waltz are two poems that focus on child abuse. Both authors of the poems write about the abuse and violence that children encounter in the hands of adults. In “The Whipping”, the boy is battered by an old woman, most likely the little boy’s grandmother. In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz”, the boy experiences abuse at the hands of his very own father. The two poems are not different in this manner alone. The two also differ in terms of tone. In “The Whipping”, the speaker in the poem is full of anger and angst. The little boy, who serves as the speaker of the poem feels no love lost with his abuser.

He does not have any affection towards the old woman as signified in the line, “The face that I no longer knew or loved…” On the other hand, the boy in the second poem fears his abuser. He is still baffled as to why his very own father is treating him that way and why his mother refuses to do anything to stop the abuse. Also, the poems differ in point of view. The first poem makes use of the third person and the first person point of view. It starts of in the third person, takes on the first person, and moves back to the third person at the end of the poem.

In “My Papa’s Waltz,” the speaker of the poem maintains a first person point of view. – Paraphrase of Ballad of Birmingham – The little boy asked his mom if he could join the freedom march. His mom did not allow him to go because she thinks that the rally would be chaotic and disorderly and a little child does not belong in such event. The little boy insists and tries to argue his point but his mother remains firm. Instead, she tells him to just go to church and join the choir. As the mother was getting ready, confident that her little boy was safe, she hears the explosion.

Scared that her child might be hurt, she races through the town’s streets and upon reaching the church she searches for her son. She found nothing but her son’s shoe. The poem, “Ballad of Birmingham” speaks of a tragic event in Birmingham. However, it tells the story in way different from how the story would appear in the newspaper or in a encyclopedia entry. For one, the way the poem tells the story is very personal. It is focuses on the mother and the son. It does not contain the facts of the event. It does not even say what the incident was. It merely speaks of how the mother lost her son.

On the other hand, a newspaper story or an encyclopedia entry would have all the facts of the incident including the time, date, and the number of casualties and injuries. Also, a newspaper story would contain statements from different people who witnessed the event while an encyclopedia entry would focus on the role and significance of the event in history. The poem also differs with a speech calling for the elimination of racial injustice. For one, the poem does not protest racial injustice outright. It mentions the freedom march and the need to “free the country” but it never suggests or calls for action.

A speech on the other hand would call for these very things. It will ask people to act and protest racial injustice. The poem “Ballad of Birmingham” not only tells a story, it is also meant to convey the message that evil is everywhere. The irony that the child died in church is greatly helps in conveying such message since it shows that no place is safe. Since the mother forbade her child from joining the rally because she felt that it was unsafe, it was truly ironic that her son died because he followed what she said and went to church, a place that many people see as something safe.

The irony shows that evil exists even in the places that we never imagined it to be. The speaker in the poem “Mirror” is a woman, specifically the author. The purpose of the poem is to show how a woman battles with reality as she goes through the process of searching for self-identity. Specifically, it is meant to show women have the hardest time accepting that they grow old, that their appearance changes. They try to hide ageing and refuse to believe that they are ageing.

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