Theodore Roethke My Papa's Waltz Interpretation

516 Words3 Pages
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…show more content…
Many controversies was revolving around the word “romped” and individuals believe “romped” was meant as a negative connotation. Even though “romped” could mean engage in sexual activity, it could also mean to play roughly. In the context of the poem, “romped” appears to mean play roughly and it doesn’t show a negative connotation. “Romped” may have in fact only been playing around and that nothing abusive was happening. To further add on, the author used words like “countenance” and “unfrown” after the falling of pans to show us that it was because of the pans the mother frowned. Also, Roethke used “unfrown” to show that the situation wasn’t super serious and it was just that the mother was just upset. Although, the author used words that may contain two meanings with different connotations, the meaning of the words became clear when it was apply to the text. Therefore, the author’s choice of diction help clarify the overall meaning of the poem and allows the readers the understand the poem more clearly. Roethke elaborates on his purpose through the context of his time and childhood
Open Document