The Mood Of My Papa's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

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Childhood memories are not only significant but lasting in many people’s lives. They can be positive, negative, or a combination of both and result in a lifelong full of happiness or a lifelong of hope, despair, and regret. Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” gives a great example of a grown man remembering both positive and negative childhood memories in his life. The poem is written from the child’s point of view and has an acquiescent tone. Throughout the poem Roethke discusses the child’s negative but positive memories of growing up with his father through the use of the boy’s acquiescent tone, meaningful and forceful words, metaphors, the mother’s bitter tone, and rhyme patterns.
Analyzing the tone can be quite difficult throughout this
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Half of these words have negative connotations that signify some sort of abuse, the other half are mostly positive and signify love. This combination of words can be very confusing for the reader who is trying to decipher the poem. Despite what many people think, these childhood memories are neither dreadful nor delightful, the poem is actually a combination of both positive and negative memories. The boy may have not had the best relationship with his father but he still has a lot of love and respect for…show more content…
The father is holding his son “with a palm caked hard by dirt” (Roethke 14) and brings him off to bed “still clinging to his shirt” (Roethke 16). It didn’t matter if his father was sometimes violent, what mattered was that he was a hard working father who supported his family. Although the memories of the boy’s past may have not been the best, we know he still looks up to his father as someone to admire for all that he has done for him. His father’s good outweighs his bad.
The young boy in “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke did not have the easiest relationship with his father. The seemingly harsh words showed signs of abuse but left the boy unshaken, holding onto love and respect for his father. At times they may have struggled to get along, facing bumps on the road and a bitter mother who could do nothing to help. Although they didn’t always click the boy had true love and respect for his father who worked hard and supported the family. In the end he wouldn’t trade anything, even a waltz, for these
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