352:224 Survey of American Literature           Name: _______________________________
First Day In-Class Writing Assignment (1/20/10)

In class essay. Please read Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz" (1948), below. How do you respond?

Here are some possible opinion questions: What is the relation between the "small boy" and his "papa" in the poem? Is the family picture positive or negative? Does it make a difference that this is a poem rather than a short story, newspaper journalism, or a clinical family report? What is the the key evidence that supports your point of view? Please argue and support your case. Don't just summarize, paraphrase, or describe the poem.

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 5
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle; 10
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 15
Still clinging to your shirt.


- - - - - - - - - - - - Fold, tear off, and retain coupon - - - - - - - - - - - - -
352:224 Survey of American Literature
Second Day: Reading and Writing Assignment: Due Friday, 1/22/10

Read in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th edition , Package 2.,Volume C, Sarah Orne Jewett’s story, "The White Heron," C522-28. (or online). At the end, the narrator asks: "What is it that suddenly forbids her and makes her dumb? Has she been nine years growing and now, when the great world for the first time puts out a hand to her, must she thrust it aside for a bird's sake?"

In your opinion, what motivates Sylvia's decision? Is it significant that she is a nine year old girl -- or that the white heron is an odd-looking wading bird with long, thin neck and legs. What ideas, emotions, and details in the text are most effective for you? Explain your views, supported with specific quotations from the text (page or paragraph numbers in parentheses) in an essay of 1-2 pages. .   [224_sp10_day1.htm]