My Papa's Waltz by Theodore Roethke Essay

693 Words 3 Pages
Any interpretation of this story is due to the reader’s personal emotions and feelings toward his or her own Papa. This story can be either a dance between him and his father, thus bringing them closer together. However, there is a darker side of this poem, on this side it is an unsettling fight between a boy and his drunken father and all the intimacy of the dance does not make an impression on the reader and is overshadowed by the anger they feel. Theodore Roethke manipulates our emotions in this poem using literary convention. A Waltz is a lighthearted, easily accessible dance. In a waltz, a couple sways back and forth as they go in a circle. Our emotions of this poem seem to follow this same path as we can see comforting and …show more content…
Any interpretation of this story is due to the reader’s personal emotions and feelings toward his or her own Papa. This story can be either a dance between him and his father, thus bringing them closer together. However, there is a darker side of this poem, on this side it is an unsettling fight between a boy and his drunken father and all the intimacy of the dance does not make an impression on the reader and is overshadowed by the anger they feel. Theodore Roethke manipulates our emotions in this poem using literary convention. A Waltz is a lighthearted, easily accessible dance. In a waltz, a couple sways back and forth as they go in a circle. Our emotions of this poem seem to follow this same path as we can see comforting and frightening images at the same time in this poem making us go in circles on whether this poem is about a boy dancing with his father, or a boy fighting his father. An example of this “waltz” we have in this poem is in the first stanza as we get the frightening image of “The whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy” (Line 1-2). Then he follows with “we romped,” thus undercutting the serious tone that we are given from the first stanza; however, the romping is giving seriousness immediately when the pans slide from the kitchen shelves and “The mother’s countenance could not unfrown itself.” Another part that can be taken in either a positive or a negative reading is when the poem reads, “The hand that held my wrist was battered on one