Essay about My Papas Waltz vs. Those Winter Nights

1521 Words Aug 1st, 2013 7 Pages
Richard Koch
Literature and Culture

Research Paper
My Papa’s Waltz Vs. Those Winter Nights

In “My Papa’s Waltz” by Roethke and “Those Winter Sundays” by Hayden, the two narrators speak about their fathers in a way that shows there were two different sides to their fathers. One side was abusive and strict, while the other side was loving and caring. Each narrator has a different attitude toward their feelings for their fathers. Roethke has a more fun and understanding view of his father, while Hayden has a more cold and uncaring attitude toward his father. Both Hayden and Roethke talk about their father’s character flaws in their poems. Even though there are flaws in their fathers, both the narrators learn to over see
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This is shown in the lines “Weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him” (p. 155). There is a very different feeling toward how each narrator sees their father. “The whiskey in your breath could make a small boy dizzy”(p. 193). This line in Roethke’s poem shows that he saw his father as an embarrassment to him. Having an alcoholic father who gets reckless at points when he drinks can be hard for a child to handle, but the narrator is able to accept the fact that his father drinks and moves on. Hayden sees his father in a different light. He sees his father as a workingman, who is too busy to have fun and talk to his family. He sees his father as only a tool for earning money for the family, or doing all of the hard work around the house. “Sundays too my father got up early, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No on ever thanked him” (p. 155). This shows he only saw his father as a workingman, didn’t notice the hard work his father did, and didn’t understand that he was doing this out of love for his family. Both the narrators showed different attitudes toward their fathers, because they both saw them in a different way. In each of these poems, the narrators did share some of the same attitudes towards their fathers. Roethke shows his father may not have been around as much as he should have been. His father would drink his life away and end up being a completely
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