Relationship Between Fathers and Sons

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Both poems “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke and “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden are poems in which the speaker (a son in both cases) attempts to explain his complex relationship with his father. It seems that the two poets are reflecting back in their early lives as young boys and showing different appreciation toward their father. In my interpretation “My Papa’s Waltz” is about a boy and that is excited that his father got home to play with him. Only problem is the speakers father is drunk and it hard to enjoy himself but he held on because the unconditional love he has for him, as the line says “The Whiskey on your breath / could make a boy dizzy; / But I hung like death: ” (1-2-3). However, “Those Winter Sundays” is more about a boy that really didn’t appreciate his father’s tough love and hard work to kept heat in the house as the third stanza said “what did I know, what did I know / of love’s austere and lonely offices?” (13-14). Both of the poems deal with a father and a son with the same setting just one can be more negative than the other further more give you different judgment and have different attitudes.

In “My Papa’s Waltz” the whole scenario is happening in the speaker’s house. When the boy’s father comes in the house drunk, he plays with him roughly through out the house, which, I believe is very inappropriate since he is “small boy” (2). As they continue playing they enter the kitchen energetically and dropping pans from the shelf. As the father “waltzed” him to bed, the boy sounds like he is the one that is holding the father from falling while his father looses balance he gets hurt with his belt buckle, since he is a small boy. Shown here “At every step you missed / My right ear scraped a buckle” ...

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...istent with working hard and keeping the cold outside and not in his home. Looking back the poets realized that for the father to work so hard and a lot he loved them unconditionally. I like when he realizes because he said “What did I know, what did I know” (13).

All in all both of the poems are amazing realization of the past with their father’s relationships and reflecting on some positive or negative moments in their lives. While on poet thought he had a good dad when he was young he looks back and analyze that his father used to play with him when he was drunk and basically was the one holding him through his unbalance moment. When it should have been the other way around. Although in “Those winter Sundays” the boy didn’t care about his father hardship work and showed no type of appreciation, realizes that he was an exceptional father that had a lot to give.
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