Summary Of My Papa's Waltz

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In Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s waltz” the reader finds a horrid experience, the beating of a child by his father, which is told in a way of a romantic and beautiful dance – the waltz. The feeling one get from reading this poem is that the narrator, at least at the time in which the poem is written, does not look at this experience as something bad. He tries to beautify the experience by making it a waltz. He also, by means of images and rhythm, shows the conflict between the readers, or the way any other ‘normal’ man will look at this experience, and how he sees it, or wants it to be seen ( although he does not show his father as completely innocent). It can also be looked upon as the Petty Herst syndrome – meaning having a ‘reality’ so intense …show more content…

The poet is led around the house, dancing – not beaten around. Which is also brought throu by the meter – trecet iamb – the beat of the waltz, thus the main image is shown through the meter as well, giving the reader more of the feeling of a dance in contrast to the ‘secondery images’ which are more associated with the rough experience of a beating. Given such parameters the poet installs some sort of relaxation in the reader (maybe even in himself), in order to make the subject – the beating – more readable, and lessening the effect of the drunkenness and the beatings, making his father more human. By this dance metaphor the whole routine of the beating is messeged. The drunken father, his breath “Could make a small boy dizzy”, yet the boy hangs “on like death”. The word death is important, usualy the word death, in love poems, shows truthfullness and undesputable love, as in marriage one promises to love to death, to never leave even if what is left is just a memory – as happens in this poem. The boy will love his father to end; although, a great bitterness remains in the memory – the drunkenness, failure (“every step you missed”), and the beating deriving from these failure and drunkenness. For each failure ” My right ear scraped a buckle ” – The boy is accused for his father’s failures. Another way in which the love to the father is shown is the way in which the father is …show more content…

He does not lessen the impact of these beatings or their brutality. The beatings was so hard that the “pans Slid from the kitchen shelf “, the beatings were hard on the poet – ” Such waltzing was not easy ” – and also made a change in the boys point of life. The poet tells that the father beats ” time on my head “, meaning the beatings made his childhood go away, time ran faster for him, beating him as his father did, as if making him mature faster than others, but he does not accuse his father of that. One accusing finger does rise, and that is toward the mother, who “Could not unfrown ” her ” countenance “, as if the poet’s mother does not react in order to maintain this or that frown that will leave her ‘undignified’, as if stopping his father from beating him is not of her duties – putting the blame away from his

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes theodore roethke's "my papa’s waltz" as a romantic and beautiful dance. the narrator, at least at the time in which the poem is written, does not look at this experience as bad.
  • Analyzes how he beautifies the experience by making it a waltz. he also shows the conflict between thereaders, or the way any other ‘normal’ man will look at this experience.
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