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Text Critique


Thiscritique is based three poems: Balladof the Landlord(by Langston Hughes), LonelyHearts (byWendy Cope), and MyPapa’s Waltz(by Theodore Roethke). The Ballard of the Landlord is a narrativepoem because it is a story of a relationship between a property ownerand an African American tenant. The Lonely hearts is a tercet fantasypoem since it contains three lines per stanza, as well as involvesromance. The speaker is giving the description potential suitors whoshould also be residing in North London. Lastly, My Papa’s Waltzis a quatrain since it has four lines and alternating rhyme.

TheBallad of the Landlord features a free verse structure to give thespeaker flexibility of choosing words to criticize the landlord. Inaddition, it allows the poet to change the structure of the stanzasin order to show the difference in persons communicating. Thequatrain structure used in My Papa’s Waltz poem helps the personato describe various characters of his or her father without creatingexcessive exaggeration. The alternating rhyme helps to create rhythmin the poem. The triplet structure used to format The Lonely heartssuits the poem since the poet intends to communicate only threeunique features of potential suitors: sexual orientation of theprospective suitor, the desire of the mate and recommended locationfor the person. A tercet poem delivers this information effectivelysince it provides enough space for the poet to outline thesefeatures.

Hughesuses rhetorical questions and accented language to create emphasis onthe issues the speaker is addressing. The choice of words does alsohelp the reader poet to create the nature of his poem. For instance,“What?You gonna get eviction orders/ You gonna cut off my heat?”draws the attention of the reader. These questions also help todepict the mood of the attitude and mood of the speaker towards thelandlord. Similarly, Wendy Cope uses rhetorical questions andrepetition to draw the attention of the readers. For example, “Doyou live in North London? Is it you?”Onthe other hand, Theodore Roethke uses vivid description and rhyme todraw the attention of readers, as well as emphasize on the targetmessage. For example, “Thehand that held my wrist/ Was battered on one knuckle / At every stepyou missed/ My right ear scraped a buckle.