What Is The Tone Of My Papa's Waltz

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In the poem, My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke, is known to be a controversial story about a father and son relationship. The speaker in this poem has contradicting emotions about his father and the tone told throughout the story can be ribald yet many readers find it all just a happy memory. The main subject of My Papa’s Waltz is a young son who loved his son but still feared him. In this poem the speaker will illustrate the family views using a certain word choice and the tone he uses. The specific diction will highlight the real truth between the father and son relationship and what it means.
In My Papa’s Waltz the speaker is a son who loves his father deeply even though his home is torn apart by alcohol and abuse. When reading throughout the poem there are words that will pop out
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In this poem all the son sees is battered knuckles on his father with “palms caked hard by dirt.” This paints a description of an abusive father that does not love his son because if he did love his son he would not hurt him. The father is first introduced with “whiskey on his breath” (line 1) which can be inferred that he is an alcoholic and this creates a negative image that the reader can see and even smell.The son though seems to notice all this, but still seems to love his father and admire him. The waltz represents a repetitive step and in the poem the waltz is his father’s constant abuse and interrupts the sweet idealistic dance. The boy’s mother had a face that “could not unfrown itself” meaning that she was an unhappy wife in a brutal marriage. Mothers are known to be the nice, soft, and loving person in the family. In this poem a mother seems to be the opposite. She is standing in the kitchen watching defensively as her husband is beating her only son. This sets a picture in your mind that the father and son “waltz” is not a pleasant one at
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