My Papa 's Waltz By Theodore Roethke Essay

781 Words Nov 14th, 2016 4 Pages
My Papa 's Waltz by Theodore Roethke is a lyrical poem told by the narrator looking back on he and his father, when he was a young boy. The tone of the poem is definitely a mixed tone between; loving and fond, to dark and fearful. The boy obviously cares very deeply for his father but there are undertones of a darker side filled with abuse, violence and alcoholism. The waltz could be a symbolism of something much darker than a delicate waltz and might be meant to shed light on the violence that the father inflicts upon the boy and the home when he is in a drunken stupor. As the first stanza begins we are slapped right in the face by the fathers drunkenness. The poem begins, "The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy;" It is obvious here that the father is in a very drunken state and although the boy does not seem comfortable with the father, it appears that he longs for any time with his father. The next verse is " But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy" the authors use of the word death here is very significant to the fact that the boy had to hang on for his life due to the fathers drunkenness. It goes on in the second stanza with "We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf;" Waltzing is very smooth, delicate dance, so the fact that the author uses "romped" to describe a waltz is either evidence of the father 's drunken clumsiness or eluding to maybe a beating. "My mother 's countenance Could not unfrown itself." countenance is…

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