My Papa's Waltz Poem Analysis

Decent Essays

Memory of an Abusive Father In discussions of “My Papa’s Waltz,” one controversial issue has been about a fond memory of his father . On the one hand, some readers argue The poem was about abuse . On the other hand, many readers contend It was a somber poem that expresses a son’s love for his father, despite his father’s alcoholism and abusive ways. Others even maintain that the poem had everything to do with something positive and memorable. However, after deconstructing the poem, it becomes increasingly clear that the poem is about kid who's dad is an abusive alcoholic father and still seeks ways to admire him. 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 diction of the poem clearly support the interpretation that Roethke writes “My Papa’s Waltz” to reflect on a memory portraying the abusive nature alcoholic father. It is evident that imagery has a significant impact in “My Papa's Waltz” to portray the meaning and purpose of the poem. In the first stanza it states “ The whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy.” This line creates imagery by using sensory language because it uses smell to intensify the description of the father, furthermore supporting the idea about the poem being about an abusive alcoholic father. The author uses imagery in the second stanza, “ My mother's countenance wasn't able to unfrown itself.” This

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