The Human Emotions and Experiences expressed in
“The Whipping” and “My Papa’s Waltz”
“The Whipping” and “My Papa’s Waltz” both deal with critical and serious issues that lie within the human mind. The issues being compared can be viewed as abusive, emotional or confusion. The reader can possibly be drawn by the poet to experience their own memories, emotions, and experiences in similar situations. These childhood memories can easily be revisited as adults and their life experiences can be viewed differently as they enter into adulthood. Both pleasant and unpleasant memories stay with a person throughout his or her lifetime. In each of these poems the poet expresses similar situations in his own journey through his eyes as a child.
One of the areas being discussed is potential abuse and inappropriate behavior in the two poems. “The Whipping” demonstrates a neighbor witnessing an abusive relationship between a mother and her young child as she is drawn back to her own fearful past. As the neighbor looks upon the child she recalls the memories and facial expressions of her own mother as she states “Words could bring, the face that I no longer knew or loved …” (lines17-19). “My Papa’s Waltz”, on the other hand, demonstrates the possible inappropriate behavior of a father towards his son. The father shows a lack of concern for his child when it states
The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle. (lines 9-12)
His actions toward his child are not portrayed in a proper manner. However, some audiences could view this as a playful and loving relationship.
The second area being discussed is the personal emotions of sadness in “The 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” the...