This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Misinterpretations Of A Waltz In My Papa’s Waltz

671 words - 3 pages

"Misinterpretations of a Waltz" in My Papa’s Waltz  

"We romped until the pans / Slid from the kitchen shelf" (5-6). In numerous poems different readers vista a variety of ways to interpret what poems actually mean. This is very much true in Theodore Roethke's poem "My Papa's Waltz." The quote mentioned has caused many misconceptions about what the poem; "My Papa's Waltz" actually refers to. The two superior interpretations of critics are that Roethke's poem describes abuse or a dance. The abuse seems much more apparent in "My Papa's Waltz" because of the language that Roethke uses. The dance is interpreted because the boy is innocent and knows nothing else therefore the abuse seems normal. The drunkenness of his Papa, the mother's ignorance, and the way the child describes his abuse are very clear interpretations of mistreatment in Theodore Roethke's poem "My Papa's Waltz."

 

In the opening of the poem the young boy lets the audience know how he remembers his Papa. He remembers him by "The whiskey on your breath / could make a small boy dizzy" (1-2). The first declaration allows the realization of the audience to know that the father is in a volatile condition because of his drunkenness. The small boy's Papa is so intoxicated that his breath makes him dizzy. The dizziness is perceived by critics as "the boy in the poem felt a sickening fear" (Interpretation 536). The sickening fear that the young boy feels requires him to hold "on like death" (3). Obviously holding on is not so easy and the author describes this as a waltz. The abuse is described as a waltz because the boy is enjoying time with his father. The young boy does not know any difference therefore does not know that the abuse is wrong.

 

The frightened mother, described by Roethke, is so alarmed that she cannot do anything about the mistreatment. Because the family members were in a "romp" the "mother's...

Find Another Essay On Misinterpretations of a Waltz in My Papa’s Waltz

Critical Analysis of “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke

1028 words - 5 pages in his widely anthologized work "My Papa's Waltz" written on 1948. Apparently, Roethke's filial anxieties stemmed from the trauma of his father’s death, which interrupted the adolescent's successful passage through oedipal rivalry (Garraty and Carnes). Roethke's drive to master his precursors, however, led him to forge significant literary innovations. By reading the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, the reader might see either a loving

“My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke

659 words - 3 pages The most notable qualities of Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” are the tone and language of the poem which convey the nostalgia adult author feels thinking about the time spent with his father. In the title narrator’s father is affectionately referred to as “Papa” making the impression that the main character and his father are close. The use of possessive pronoun “my” contributes to the overall impression that the father holds special place

Comparing the Dance of Life in My Papa’s Waltz and Saturday Night Fever

645 words - 3 pages Parallels of The Dance of Life  in My Papa’s Waltz  and Saturday Night Fever  Throughout the ages, dance has played an important role in society. It symbolizes tradition, family, bonding, and entertainment. In almost every decade of the twentieth century, a different style of dance prevailed. In the 1970s, John Travolta brought disco dancing into the spotlight with his portrayal of Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. Through his

The Human Emotions and Experiences expressed in “The Whipping” and “My Papa’s Waltz”

847 words - 3 pages Whipping” and of happiness in “My Papa’s Waltz”. In “The Whipping” the neighbor reminisces on her painful memories as a youngster and seems to focus and concentrate on feelings of sadness for the child. She understands the boy’s pain due to her own personal abusive childhood. The reader can also get a feeling of sadness for the child as you read "Well it is over now, it is over, and the boy sobs in his room." (lines 19-20) In “My Papa’s Waltz

Theodore Roethke’s My Papa’s Waltz and Robert Hayden’s Those Winter Sundays

1705 words - 7 pages know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?” (Hayden, 13-14) After this is raised, the reader sees the young man has a strong degree of love for his father “who had driven out the cold” (Hayden, 11). This makes the tone of the poem similar to My Papa’s Waltz because each person has found that they love and admire their father. In My Papa’s Waltz, the boy really values his father and the hard work he did to support the family

Analysis of My Papa's Waltz

694 words - 3 pages In the poem "My Papa's Waltz" written by Theodore Roethke, the interpretation of the poem depends on the readers`perspective. Some people think that this poem is one of a happy exchange between a father and son. Other people believe that this poem has a hidden message of parental abuse. In my point of view, the imagery and language, the symbolism, and tone in the poem gave me the impression of the love between the father and son, not of an

Analysis of My Papa's Waltz

810 words - 3 pages Analysis of "My Papa's Waltz" This poem has a kept form. Even at a glance, it has a set form. It consists of four quatrains, each line being an iambic tritameter. The poem is about a young boy waltzing with his father. One can assume that the speaker is a young boy, or perhaps the poet reminiscing his youth. The father dances around in a haphazard manner, knocking over pans in the kitchen. Upon first glance, the tone is humorous. The

A Loving Struggle in Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz"

993 words - 4 pages A Loving Struggle in Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz"After an initial reading of Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz, one may assume that this is a story of a terrified young boy unable to defend himself against his father's physical abuse, while another reader may view this scene as a depiction of a playful game between father and son. While the poem may be understood by accepting either of these explanations in their simplest form, Roethke most

The Use of Literary Techniques in "My Papa's Waltz"

581 words - 2 pages Any interpretation of "My Papa's Waltz" has to take into account the complexity of the speaker's feelings that are brought about by his father's waltz. A dance should bring two people closer together. The dance in this poem acts that way, yet the darker side of this waltz, which is a powerfully unsettling emotion under the surface of this poem, dominates the mood, and the love and intimacy of the dance do not make a strong impression on the

My Papas Waltz

550 words - 2 pages mother is understandably sad; the mother “could not unfrown [herself],” knowing she cannot change the situation (7). Roethke writes that the dad “[beats] time on [his] head” to provide clear evidence that the father is hitting the speaker with his fists in a rhythm much like the rhythm a boxer utilizes while practicing on a punching bag (13).      Although Roethke’s poem is called “My Papa’s Waltz,” it is clearly a dance of violence involving a young boy. By using descriptive words along with the brutal actions that the father takes, Roethke conveys the sadistic nature of his poem in an ingenious way.

"My Papa's Waltz" Review

908 words - 4 pages In “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, was a great poem that can mean many different things to many different people of this world. To me I think it was just a boy who just wanted to spend time with his dad before he has to go to bed. The boy probably does not get to spend time with his dad that much. The father probably works all day and all week and this is the only time the boy gets to spend with him. Roethke use of words in this poem is

Similar Essays

Criticisms Of Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz”

691 words - 3 pages lightness, “My Papa’s Waltz” is a poem of terror… because the boy is frightened and hurt by his father…” (Fong). However, other famed critics like X.J. Kennedy argue that “most readers find the speaker’s attitude toward his father affectionate and take this recollection of childhood to be a happy one” (Fong). All of the above named critics were looking at Roethke’s final published form of the poem in 1948. However, John McKenna actually went to the

Critical Appreciation Of My Papa’s Waltz

862 words - 3 pages , scraped, and beat are all words that can be found in "My Papa's Waltz." These words carry a negative connation and convince the reader that the poem is about child abuse. I think the speaker of the poem carries a melancholic and resentful tone as he is pondering painful memories of his childhood. I also believe that in a way he misses his father or is still seeking a form of love or acceptance from him. I also believe that the way one interprets

My Papa’s Waltz Battered Knuckles

693 words - 3 pages happily plan his next adventure. Similarly, Theodore Roethke's, "My Papa's Waltz" is a poem about a man who tries to make a horrible event into something much more pleasant to think about. The speaker seems to be remembering back to his childhood and finally uncovers dark memories about his father. The child in the poem finally realizes that childhood was full of scary nights in which he sometimes feared for his life. The speaker has tried for

My Papa’s Waltz That's Not Just Coke In Dad's Glass

692 words - 3 pages My Papa’s Waltz - That's not just coke in Dad's glass     Some define alcohol abuse as "the recurrent use of alcohol to the extent that repeated use results in an inability to fulfill normal role functions, or presents legal or social/interpersonal problems, or creates a hazard to self or others" (Suppes 339). While most people seem to drink in moderation, others have a hard time drinking responsibly. Sometimes alcohol