Child abuse is physical mistreatment that unfortunately happens to children everywhere around the world. In the same way, the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, describes and gives the readers an insight of what child abuse is like. The poem presents a relationship between a drunken father and his son. Therefore, the setting, sensory details, and word choice of the poem allows the reader to understand the violence the little boy goes through after his father returns from work.
To begin, American poet, Theodore Roethke in his open to question poem, “My Papa’s Waltz” illustrates his childhood memories with his father by using the “waltz” rhythmic movements in his poem. There have been professional debates between professors about what the poem is truly about, many believe that the author talking about his abusive and alcoholic father; others strongly disagree and believe it is about a father and his son having fun and making a mess around the house, leading the child to get hurt. The poem is about an adolescent boy and his father making memories together and making a mess in his mother’s kitchen which from the looks of her “countenance” is upset. Roethke uses the expression “waltz” because the dance is in a triple time rhythm, and Roethke uses an “AABBCC” rhyme scheme and the rhyme scheme emphasizes a “childish” but “unpleasant” vibe with the rhyme scheme and negative diction. While the subject of the poem “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 illustrate and reminisce his fond memories with his “papa” and his adolescent self making a mess around the house and the kitchen and leading his mother to be upset through a “dance.”
Theodore Roethke was born in Saginaw, Michigan on May 25, 1908 to Otto Roethke and Helen Huebner. Along with uncle, his mother and father owned a local greenhouse, where Roethke spent a lot of his childhood days working and playing. He referred to the greenhouse as “my symbol for the whole of life, a womb, a heaven-on-earth” ( ). The greenhouse played a huge role in his poetry. Roethke implies that only after death of the self can people come to realize the true purpose of life, love. Roethke always had stored in the back of his mind “the idea that personal selves were not the focus of time on earth”( ). Therefore, people must experience the death of their selves before they can truly live.
The speaker in this poem is obviously bothered by the smell of the liquor on his fathers' breath and the actions the alcohol facilitates.
The poems “My Father’s Song” by Simon J. Ortiz and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, these two poems express uniqueness and similarities. In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” a young child describes his time spent with his father. In the poem “My Father’s Song” a grown man remembers the previous memories of time spent with his father, when he was a child. These two poems coincide through tone, word choice, and figurative language to show the relationship between a father and son.
People say there are many types of drunk stereotypes in the world: the fun drunk, the romantic drunk, the destructive drunk, the list goes on and on. “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke is about a drunk father who came home from work and is waltzing with his son. The ABAB rhyme scheme makes the poem sound like a waltz like the title suggests, but the diction makes the poem heavy. The ambiguity in this poem, based on the diction, leads to two different images, both include a drunk father but one is abusive and the other is happy.
A parent in a child's life is a role model in there eyes. If one has bad influences on your child, in what way do would think one may impact on his or her life. The narrative poem “My papa’s Waltz”, is written by Theodore Roethke in 1948. Papa is a extremely hard working man by the show of his hands. Papa and his son are in the kitchen waltzing around remarkably rough, while mother is not too happy about it. While the father and son are dancing around the son keeps getting hurt. While in the end papa waltzed his son right off to bed. In the narrative poem “My Papa’s Waltz”, Roethke uses symbolism and imagery to reveal the theme, parents impact children's life, even after they are grown.
Theodore Roethke’s, “My Papa’s Waltz” is a short but extremely powerful poem. The message Theodore Roethke is delivering in this poem is that love will always oust hate. The speaker recalls numerous tragic events he would endure throughout his childhood that most others would certainly want to bury deep away and never relive. The speaker thinks back to nights his father would barge into their house like an angry storm. His breath reeking of whiskey as he lashed out on the ones who loved him the most. He recalls times looking to his mom for strength, only to be met by the harsh reality, she was just as helpless as he was. You would think one would have resentment and hate towards such a man, but that certainly isn’t the case in this story as the speaker still yearns for his troubled father’s love.
A strong bond between a father and son is critical for a healthy relationship. In almost every culture there is a strong emphasis on father-son relationships. Growing up every boy admires his father and aspires to be just like him, hence the phrase “Like father, like son.” This puts a significant amount of pressure on the father, forcing him to be a good role model for his son. However, many fathers fail to be a positive role model for their sons which can skew their perception of an ideal father figure. In the poems “My Papa’s Waltz” written by Theodore Roethke and “Photograph of My Father in His Twenty-second Year” written by Raymond Carver the theme of a father-son relationship is central to both poems. These two poems are both similar
Theodore Roetheke uses connotation throughout the poem, “My Papa’s Waltz” to evoke a negative feeling and make us feel sorry for the boy because of how confused he is by the situation he is in. Theodore Roetheke says in his poem, “The whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy, but i hung on like death.” By putting these words in the text, Theodore indicates that the kid is confused with the fact that his dad is a drunkard
Second, Roethke exposes remarkable themes in his poem “My Papa’s Waltz”. The central point in this poem is alcoholism. The persona is taking about his alcoholic father. The father in this poem
The speaker of this poem is this boy, which tries to explain the relationship that he has with his father. I also have to admit that some people after reading these two lines, “The whiskey on your breath” and “But I hung on like death”, may think that this poem is leading them to a brutal ending or an abuse that is about to happen.
The poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke presents a memory from a young boy waltzing with his father. The waltz is a metaphor that represents the relationship the boy has with his father. Although the poem may seem like a happy and sweet story of a father and son dancing in the kitchen there are also some darker underlying tones. The speaker, who is the young boy, is directing theses words towards his father, but does not actually express them directly to the father, instead the speaker is just reflecting upon them in his head.
The way a child builds a relationship with their father figure is based on the experiences that they have shared together. This is coherent in Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz”, in which an adult son recalls his time spent “waltzing” with his father as a small child. Due to the doubtful relationship between the two, readers of Roethke’s 1942 poem often create interpretations that are divergent from each other. Some speculate that the poem is about a son realizing and accepting his childhood abuse. Others believe that it is about a son reminiscing about the joyous events that occured in his youth. In re consideration, “My Papa’s Waltz” is an overlap of both theories, proving a child’s contradictory feelings towards his father through the use of tone, symbolism, and rhythm and rhyme .
In “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, the writer reflects on his childhood experience with his father through a memory of dancing a waltz. Roethke describes the dance with details that hint at physical force coming from a possibly drunk dad. The reader is left to construe whether the relationship is simply a carefree love or if it has a darker meaning, possible parental abuse. Roethke uses particular structure, language, and characterization to develop an somewhat ambiguous relationship that the reader is left to interpret.