Essay Analysis of Poems by Theodore Roethke and Robert Hayden

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While most of us think back to memories of our childhood and our relationships with our parents, we all have what he would call defining moments in our views of motherhood or fatherhood. It is clearly evident that both Theodore Roethke and Robert Hayden have much to say about the roles of fathers in their two poems as well. While the relationships with their fathers differ somewhat, both men are thinking back to a defining moment in their childhood and remembering it with a poem. "My Papa's Waltz" and "Those Winter Sundays" both give the reader a snapshot view of one defining moment in their childhood, and these moments speak about the way these children view their fathers. Told now years later, they understand even more about these…show more content…
However, he takes the time to participate in a bedtime ritual for his son. This is important. This time of playfulness between father and son is something that his son cherishes. "But I hung on like death" tells us how much he wanted to keep up with his father and is exaggerated to show the playful nature. And even though, the dance becomes somewhat painful when the boy's ear scrapes his father's belt buckle, the boy still holds on. This shows us the way the boy treasured these episodes of silliness with his father. He treasures them even more as he reminisces about them as an adult.

This father's role is one of participation in the life of his son. It may not be the usual participation. Maybe this man does not show up at school plays, etc. However, he does take the time to engage in activities of his own choosing with his son, and his son greatly values the time they spend together. At the end the father "waltzed me off to bed" while the boy was "still clinging to your shirt" (Roethke). Again, the word "clinging" tells the reader how much fun the boy is having. He does not want this moment to end with his dad. This father plays with his son the only way he knows how, somewhat rough, under the disapproving eye of the mother. However, he interacts with his son in meaningful ways that the son remembers throughout his life. Even though it is not the harmonious dance of a well-polished dancer, these dances are moments he will remember his

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