My Papas Waltz Analysis Essay

759 Words Aug 7th, 2013 4 Pages
Gabriella Cerqua
Analyze Poem Story

My Papa’s Waltz

The style and purpose of dancing has changed throughout the years of existence. From culture to culture, dancing is passed through generations as another form of communicating. Dancing has been used as a healing method throughout Europe, and in the 1900’s people would attend balls as a social gathering and use dancing as a way to court someone; yet today as a form of artistic talent people dance to express emotions and feelings. Tied in Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz”, the father and the son waltzing in the kitchen symbolize the powerful relationship between each other, and the abusive themes Roethke use to express the boys childhood and his as well. In the first
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Within this dance, Roethke demonstrates the abusive relationship as the father receives a “battered knuckle” and the boy with a scraped ear. Even though the boy had to deal with his drunken father physically and emotionally abusing him, he didn’t mind it as long as he had his father. The boy didn’t care that his fathers’ whiskey breath almost made him dizzy, or that he had to cling on to his father during this dance that should have been easy for him to execute but was difficult for him to perform because of his father’s drunkenness. The last stanza sums up the poem with the father waltzing the son off to bed. The young boy didn’t want to let go of his father, for he feared that letting go of his father would symbolically end the relationship that they had. The last sentence “still clinging onto your shirt” describes the love and the longing he had for his dad. To add on, society understands that in a child’s youth, growing up in an abusive environment is impactful on his/her life, and the boy wanted to keep the connection he had with his dad. From just reading this poem, the reader narrows down on one day into the life of this father and son dancing throughout the house, and in such a way, Roethke captured and connected the dancing of the waltz with the relationship between the father and his son. Roethke portrayed his own personal experiences
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