The Meaning Of My Papa's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

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Theodore Roethke’s poem ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ always inspires many conflicting and interesting opinions from readers concerning the author’s intended meaning when penning down the poem. Despite the poem being fairly brief, it is evident that the poet made clever use of rhythm, which initiate elaborate and emotional conversations about what the poem could possibly mean. There are many opinions about what Theodore meant in the poem.
Some are of the opinion that the poem is a reflection of alcoholism and child abuse. Many condemn the father in the poem for allegedly inflicting pain upon the young boy. A second group thinks that the poem is simply an elegiac tribute of a son to his father and denotes playfulness and love between the father and his
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The title of the poem where the poet uses the word ‘papa’ to refer to his father sets an affectionate mood. If there was no affection between them, the poet would instead have used more formal words such as father or old man. The bond between them seems very close and they play with each other from when the father comes home to the last stanza when the father takes the son to bed. When the father comes home, despite smelling terribly of whisky, the son still clings on to him. If the father was abusive towards him, the son would not have run to him when he came home. However, he loves his father very much and still wants to play with him and be close to him no matter how pungent he…show more content…
According to the dictionary, to waltz is when a pair dances around rhythmically all over the dance floor. The title of the poem is ‘my papa’s waltz’ and he again says ‘such waltzing was not easy’. Thus, despite the father being drunk and presumably staggering and with little stability, he still struggled to dance with his son all over the place. This shows the affection and close bond between them. The pans slid from the shelf to the floor because of all the playing the two were doing
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