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Interpretation In My Papa's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

Decent Essays
The poet Theodore Roethke in his dramatic poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” illustrates a moment in the life of a father and a son. As a result, readers have their own perspective of the poem either if it is about a child getting abused or a child going back to his childhood and talking about his wonderful memories with his father. While the subject of “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke has spurred passionate academic debate from professors, scholars, and students alike, the imagery, syntax, and context of the poem clearly support the interpretation that Roethke writes “My Papa’s Waltz” to an abusive father who is always drunk and abusing his son. He describes his childhood in this poem and how he was abused by his dad. While it is true that it might be about a father and a son having a fun moment and playing around with each other, it does not necessarily follow that it is positive because the poem has a larger number of a negative connotations than positive connotations. Roethke use of context highlights the negative emotions that he feels towards his father. The use of diction provides that the poem s about a boy’s dramatic childhood. The way he uses “battered” and “waltz” describes that he is getting abused by his dad. Additionally, In stanza 4, Roethke adds “you beat” in line one which is self explanatory and a great evidence that he is getting abused. One of the most important context that he uses in his poem is “waltz.” Roethke refers waltz to abuse and he repeated this
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