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My Papas Waltz

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:23 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 68.9 
  • Words: 280
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Is the speaker recalling a negative or positive experience ?



In “My Papas Waltz” the author Theodore Roethke expresses what happened to a small young boy with a drunken father, through a series of words that covers the truth. This truth reveals that this young boy is being abused, brutally by his drunk father. The author Roethke coats his words with such a positive outlook when in the words he coats are negative .   The poem is about a young boy waltzing with his father. One can assume that the boy and the father are having a great time such as a father and son momentum, as we start reading further down the poem the readers can see that it get violent, like the father dances around in a violent manner, knocking over pans in the kitchen. When you first take a look at that line, the tone is joyful. The picture you immediately get is, what a great father and son moment they are having. With the boy “clinging” on to his chuckling father who is spinning him round and round, making a mess in the kitchen while the mother looks pretty uncomtorble with what is happening. Then the lines like “hung on like death” and “beat the time out of my head” lead us to think that the father is abusive of the boy. So with this all said I think that the speaker is recalling a negative experience. But the last line of the poem, \"waltzed me off to bed still clinging to your shirt\" shows that the boy doesn’t criticizes his father, insteads shows a father to son relationship based, on partly love.

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