Reading the poem, the first time through it appears to be abusive. The imagery of “My Papas Waltz” can clearly be understood as a father waltzing with his son in the kitchen, tapping the beat too his son’s head, and his ear scraping his buckle against his child’s ear. The poem is playful when the poem says, “At every step you missed/ My right ear scraped a buckle” (Roethke lines 11-12). The lines can be interpreted as a dad whipping a kid with a belt, but that is not what the author intended
He tells his son not to take any chances, because he takes a chance for him. This chance is successful because after he dies the veteran finds the boy asking about his father, suggesting that they were following them for awhile (McCarthy, 282). The father’s teaching have been imparted on the boy as he asks the man a series of questions to ensure he’s a good guy and carries the
These examples are as followed; “It was bad enough having an invalid brother, but having one who possibly was not all there was unbearable” (Pg 595). Also, “Sometimes I accidentally turned him over, but he never told Mama” (596). Last of all “When Doodle was five years old, I was embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldn’t walk” (597). It begins with Brother stating that “It was bad enough having an invalid brother, but having one who possibly was not all there was unbearable” (Pg 595). Referring that being an invalid brother is nothing of excitement or in his case pride.
Then he asked, "Watson boy drawing this year?” A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. "Here," he said. "I'm drawing for my mother and me." He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said things like "Good fellow, lack." and "Glad to see your mother's got a man to do it.” The foreshadowing in the second example, provides the reader with incite that Mr. Watson is no longer present, due to his son assuming his role in the drawing.
As the poem goes on you can start to pick up that it is getting told by a son. This son is shown to fight with his dad when the dad is drunk, but, by the end of the poem you can see that he still wants his dads love and approval. We see this want for love and acceptance in the movie Stand By Me directed by Rob Reiner. A character named Teddy, in the movie, has problems with his dad because he is an alcoholic, you are not given a lot of information about Teddy’s dad, and home life, but from what is told in the movie, you can tell Teddy’s father is not a good person, and seems to abuse Teddy. Teddy is like the boy in “My Papa’s Waltz” because there is not a lot of information given, yet you still seem like you painfully know everything that is going on with these two boys and their fathers.
Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” unfolds the seemingly frequent event of a young boy receiving a beating from his drunken father. The speaker of the poem is a young man, possibly in his early teenage years. This conclusion is based upon line 2, “Could make a small boy dizzy.” This line gives an indication that the main character of the poem has been involved in this type of tussle since he was a small child. There could also be a very strong connection between the author of the poem and the speaker. It is easy to sense that the author is portraying a very emotional experience he had as a young man.
Chiu Ching 3U (8) My Papa’s Waltz Questions 1. Comment on the simile in the first stanza. (3 marks) The simile used in the first stanza is “I hung on like death”(3). The next line, “Such waltzing was not easy”(4) suggests that the father and son’s boisterous, wild “romping”(5) around was difficult for the child, and he had to hang on tightly because the father was romping around drunkenly and did not hold onto him well. If he did not hang on as tightly, he might fall and get hurt.
While the subject of “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke has spurred passionate academic debate from professors, scholars, and students alike, the imagery, background, and diction of the poem clearly support the interpretation that Roethke writes “My Papa’s Waltz” to reminisce upon a nostalgic memory from childhood of dancing or “waltzing” with his father. Many individuals believe that the poem is about an abusive relationship between the author and his father. Although this may seem true through certain aspects, the author intended for this poem to be a reflection upon a happy memory with his father. According to the author, Roethke meant for this poem to be a dedication to his father, who has passed away while the author was at a young age. Thus, Roethke achieves his purpose
For this I chose to analyze the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke. One can assume that the speaker is a young boy, or perhaps the poet reminiscing his youth. Upon first glance, the tone is humorous, and a picture is presented of a boy waltzing with his father. This scene is comical with the boy clinging on for dear life as his chuckling father spins him around. The father dances around in a haphazard manner, knocking over pans in the kitchen while the mother looks on unhappily.