Negative Connotation In 'My Papa's Waltz'

Decent Essays

While it is true that “My Papa’s Waltz” uses what would be perceived as negative connotation, it does not necessarily define the story. As much as the average reader would think that this story is about abuse, that was not the author’s intention. Theodore Roethke wrote this poem with nothing but fondness for his father; however, many still believe that as uninspired as that message of abuse may be, there could still be a reason for it to be there. Being a poem gives it that pull that allows it to be interpreted both ways. You could say that both sides of the poem were meant to be present but that’s just not as satisfying. It seems that with “My Papa’s Waltz” people are one way or the other, no in between. Even if somebody were to know the history of the author which involves his much-praised father, it's possible that they might still think the story is of abuse. 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” as a nostalgic ode to his father. Roethke wanted to express the fondness he had for his father as a child even though his dad was not perfect.

While one researches Roethke’s past for the poem they might learn some interesting information in regards to his father and how the time period might change the context for lines that may have been taken too

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