Essays on My Papa's Waltz
My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke is a poem that evokes a strong emotional response from readers. It paints a vivid picture of an intimate moment between a father and son, leaving the reader to decide whether it’s an affectionate or violent exchange. The poem details various movements as the father waltzes with his son around the kitchen, with unsteady steps, clumsily bumping into furniture.The structure of this poem creates tension and ambiguity about what is taking place in the scene. In particular, the use of enjambment (when one line runs over onto another without punctuation) carries on the movement of their dance creating suspense for readers who are left to interpret each line and its implications. The tone could be interpreted as nostalgic; there are several tender moments described in which the hand that held my wrist/Was battered on one knuckle but also connotes underlying violence such as when we romped until the pans/Slid from the kitchen shelf which suggests physical aggression within these interactions. This duality suggests that while there may have been love in this relationship, there was also conflict between them which has shaped both characters involved – making it a complex portrait of what life was like for them both at home. Ultimately My Papas Waltz gives us insight into how love can take many forms: sometimes loving relationships can be flawed yet still meaningful and powerful experiences – something we all can relate to on some level regardless if our upbringing was similar or not.
The poem is about a story from a young boy playing “Waltz” (a dance) with his father a very tender age in the Kitchen. The poem start with narrator (the boy) complaining the harsh smell of whisky from his father, “The whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy (Roethke).” It was so […]