Symbolism In My Papa's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

1065 Words5 Pages
"My Papa 's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke is an interesting poem that begins with complexity. Theodore Roethke implicates the aspects of his childhood experience in this poem. This poem is immersed in metaphors, symbolism, and imagery that can overwhelm the readers with vagueness and doubts. Upon this poem 's interpretation, some people consider this poem as a parental abuse and some people see it as a son 's cheerful memory of an evening dancing with his father. The metaphors, symbols, and tone of this poem bring the impression of a child 's unconditional love for his abusive father.

Usually, the waltz is a formal dance in which two people swing back and forth moving in a circular motion. "Papa" is an affectionate word for father. In the title
…show more content…
In "My Papa 's Waltz", Theodore Roethke expressed the vivid remembrance of his childhood and his father 's boisterous behavior. Roethke condoned his father 's drunkenness, manhandling and negligence, yet remembers his everlasting affection for his "papa". This indicates Roethke 's unconditional love towards his father. Even though he was getting hurt by his father 's lapses, he willingly carried on the waltz ‘till he went to bed. The poet expressed his father 's actions uncaring and rough through the violent imagery associated with the smell of whiskey on his breath, his battered knuckle and his son 's ear being scraped. Roethke also shows the signs of his father’s clumsiness and carelessness when the pans slide off the shelves and they continue the waltz. "My mother 's countenance" and "The hand that held my wrist" instead of holding another hand gave the sense of helplessness. The mother expressed disapproval with the frown on his face but unable to do anything. And the way the poet 's father was dragging his son along by his wrist, demonstrated Roethke 's helplessness towards his father 's manhandling. However, Theodore Roethke gave preference to his unconditional love for his father and accepted their

More about Symbolism In My Papa's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

Open Document