By the first two lines, the reader may already see how this man feels about his father's drunkenness. It seems as if Roethke has preceded his poem with this factor in order to demonstrate the resentment that he feels toward his father. However, the last two lines of the poem suggest feelings other than resentment: "Then waltzed me off to bed/ Still clinging to your shirt" (Roethke 668). By mentioning the fact that his father put him to bed, Roethke seems to show affectionate feelings Bridges 2 involved in this dance. He shows his caring feelings in the last line by using the words "still clinging".
Theodore Roethke’s poem “My Papa’s Waltz” demonstrates a young boy’s affection for his father’s love, even if that means having to tolerate his father being drunk. Many critics believe that “My Papa’s Waltz” is a sad depressing poem, when really it is a poem of affection. If people read the poem only once, many readers will automatically jump to conclusion that the poem is talking about abuse. This poem is definitely a poem that needs to be read more than once to fully get all of the details in place. Many critics think the poem talks about a father who comes home drunk and is beating his son.
My Papa's Waltz by Theodore Roethke Throughout the poem, "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke, many techniques are used to show that there are furious conflicts between a father and his son. Roethke uses the word waltz in the title to relate to the beating of the son. I believe that the poem is altogether a negative poem, as described by the words and phrases the author uses. To begin, the author immediately states that the father is a drunk. Roethke says, "The whiskey on your breath / Could make a small boy dizzy".
The line, “With a palm caked hard by dirt” also does much to throw the meaning of the poem off. It is assumed that his father’s hands are dirty in some relation to his alcoholism, but in reality his hands are dirty because his father often worked in a greenhouse as a farmer. This leads to the last two lines of the poem where the boys feelings about the father come full circle. When the waltz is finished, and despite the aggressive nature of the dance, the boy in the poem does not want to stop and go to bed. He remains clinging to his shirt, as well as clinging to this memory of their dance together.
The two prominent images evoked throughout the poem are the dance itself and the violence associated with the dance. Roethke first uses olfactory imagery as he explains the father’s breath after drinking. He states, “The whiskey on your breath / could make a small boy dizzy;” (1-2). It is now evident to the reader that the father is drunk and that the situation could lead to violence. The title of the poem sets the scene of a happy, upbeat dance between a father and son; however, the reader quickly uncovers the truth.
Another way that the author uses irony is when Mick is dragging Larry home, and gets embarrassed by his son’s actions: “Who are ye laughing at?...Go away, ye bloody bitches!” (O’Connor, 302). After this episode, comes Micks has an epiphany about how he acts when drunk, and later swears off the drink. This is also humorous as it is a reversal of expectations, but in a non-traditional way. The author used the humour to make light of a serious situation, a child being drunk. Lastly, Larry’s ‘holiday’ until his eye healed is ironic as most parents would want their child to get back to regular life, and learn from their mistakes.
In the poem "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke, the speaker is reflecting on a childhood experience involving his father. Through diction and details, the speaker conveys his complex attitudes toward his father. When first read it, it appears the young boy is afraid of his father. The first line of the poem writes: "The whiskey on your breath; could make a small boy dizzy." Apparently, the father likes whisky and the smell of it is remaining on his person, which causes the young boy's aversion.
"My Papa 's Waltz," by Theodore Roethke 's, is a poem about a boy who expresses his affection for his father, but at the same time expresses a sense of danger that comes from the father. The poem appears to be a snapshot in time from a child’s memory. The uplifting experience is created through the father and son’s waltz while the father’s uncontrollable movements juxtaposes the menace of the drunken father. Roethke’s poem has a regular rhyme scheme that can be expressed as “abab”. The only exception to this scheme would be the first stanza as the words “dizzy” (2) and “easy” (4) are slant rhymes.
“My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke writes about a little boy who is about to go to bed, and his father comes home with a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, “The whiskey on your breath / Could make a small boy dizzy;” (Roethke 1-2 ). This shows that the father has been drinking and the smell is so strong he is getting dizzy from it. Even though the little boy dad is drinking he is very happy to be with him. As Roethke points out, “But I hung on like death: / Such waltzing was not easy” (Roethke 3-4). As the little boy and his father continued to dance around the house and have a good time, the little boy’s mother was getting angry at the father.
Both Roethke and Hayden both indicate that their fathers weren’t perfect although they look back admiringly at their fathers’ actions. To most individuals, a father is a man that spends time with and takes care of them which gains him love and respect. An episode of Roethke’s childhood is illustrated in “My Papa’s Waltz”. In “My Papa’s Waltz”, the father comes home showing signs of alcohol and then begins waltzing with his son. Roethke states that the father’s hands are “battered on one knuckle”.