“My Papa’s Waltz” contains imagery that can be interpreted in several ways. When the boy sees his father’s hand that “Was battered on one knuckle” (10), one assumes his battered knuckles are because of hard work or inflicting abuse on his child. The line “With a palm caked hard by dirt” (14) depicts the father as a hard-working laborer. This also suggests that he is pushed to the limit because of his work. As the father and child were in a waltz, the narrator states, “My right ear scraped a buckle” (12). This reveals that the child was bumping into his father’s belt while dancing, or that he was being beat by his father’s belt. “You beat time on my head” (13) means the father was tapping the rhythm on the child 's head, or that the father was abusing him for a long time. The reader is left with the lines “Then you waltzed me off to bed/ St...
... middle of paper ...
... the theme of familial importance. If the reader sees the waltz as a strict form of choreography, then they might agree with the theme of atrocities in child abuse.“My Papa’s Waltz” has an overall structure that goes along with the theme of waltz dancing.
In Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz”, his imagery, diction, and structure allow the ambiguous theme to be conveyed thoroughly. This poem is for one to solely interpret because there is no specific explanation whether the theme was of love or abuse. Roethke wanted to create an ambiguous poem to promote individuality and not confine readers into a literary work with only one right path of interpretation. There were many subtexts within the imagery and diction use that made readers question if their interpretation was correct. Roethke’s genius within this poem is how he makes readers wonder what side they should agree with.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... While the father and the son are playing around dancing they are also messing up the house as well. Messing up the kitchen will make any mother mad and that is what happens next. Of out any other place in the house the kitchen is the woman’s throne room. “The hand that held my wrist was battered on one knuckle; at every step you missed my right ear scraped a buckle (Roethke).” In lines 9-12 you can tell that the father has came back from a long day of work. The father’s job has to be doing something with his hands because of the battered knuckles.... [tags: poem review]
572 words (1.6 pages)
- ... This gives us yet another spin on our emotions. This pattern is repeated throughout this poem, and the waltz soon spins fast out of control to a point where we can only focus on the sequence of whirling emotion rather than coherent overall feelings. This leads to the positive and negative reading. On the positive note, it shows a hardworking father who returns from work and playfully dances with his son that he loves before taking him to bed. The whiskey on his breath is not necessarily negative due to the factors of the working class culture in 1948 when this poem was published.... [tags: poem analysis, drunken father]
684 words (2 pages)
- When one becomes a father, he undertakes many responsibilities: setting a positive example, enforcing discipline for misbehavior, overviewing the safety of his children, providing a loving atmosphere, and numerous other tasks. In Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” the narrator reminisces on the memories of his “papa” through the metaphor of an aggressive “waltz.” Using descriptions of the father’s actions and the reactions of the mother, Roethke illustrates the situation with carefully selected vocabulary.... [tags: Father, Mother, Theodore Roethke, Responsibility]
719 words (2.1 pages)
- In his poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” Theodore Roethke, an award-winning and critically acclaimed poet, emphasizes the strong bond between a father and his son by describing a drunken father dancing in the kitchen with his young son. Unfortunately, when Roethke was only fourteen, his father passed away from cancer and his uncle committed suicide. Although these events are tragic, they impacted Roethke deeply and influenced his works, especially “My Papa’s Waltz” (CITE). Through his use of diction, style, and imagery in “My Papa’s Waltz,” Roethke effectively supports the theme of a child’s admiration for his parents.... [tags: Poetry, Rhyme, Rhyme scheme, Poetic form]
1223 words (3.5 pages)
- “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke can be interpreted in a few different ways. The most obvious one being that he was dancing around with his father, having so much fun that he did not want to stop. His father is very drunk though, which leads us to believe that it is no just a fun story of him and his father dancing one night. What Roethke is really trying to show us, is the abusive relationship he had with his father. One of the ways Roethke has described the abusive relationship is through the use of verbs.... [tags: Abuse, Bullying, Psychological manipulation]
759 words (2.2 pages)
- Love is a very powerful force that it constantly being tested and tried. Through the power of devotion and commitment, it withstands many challenges. Love endures many types of situations as seen in the poems My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke, Living in Sin by Adrienne Rich, and Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden. In each of these poems a different situation arises and puts love to the ultimate test of survival. A common problem in the world today is domestic abuse. Many times the male of a household abuses the woman and children that they life with.... [tags: Abuse, Child abuse, Psychological abuse, Bullying]
1981 words (5.7 pages)
- The poem, My Papa’s Waltz, by Theodore Roethke surrounds the relationship between a father and child as they spend time together before bed by dancing. Roethke references the waltz with clever wordplay and symbolism surrounding time, rhythm and beats. In addition, he sets the poem to a ¾ time, the same beat as a traditional waltz. In the poem, the narrator’s viewpoint is that of a small child who shows endearment for his father by clinging to him despite his own physical discomfort and the disapproval of his mother.... [tags: Metropolitana di Napoli, Osaka Municipal Subway]
736 words (2.1 pages)
- 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".... [tags: Free Example Essays]
413 words (1.2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Poetry]
502 words (1.4 pages)
- Childhood Memories in "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke and "Piano" by D.H. Lawrence "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke and "Piano" by D.H. Lawrence are two poems in which grown men recall memories of their childhood. "My Papa's Waltz" has a quietly sad, almost resigned tone as Roethke relives his nightly dances with his father as a young boy. Lawrence's "Piano" is somewhat dreamy as a man is taken back by a song to his childhood. While both are presented to us through similar personas, striking differences are apparent throughout the two poems.... [tags: Compare Waltz Piano Essays Papers]
623 words (1.8 pages)