Theme Of My Papa's Waltz And Those Winter Sundays

994 Words 4 Pages
While “My Papa’s Waltz” and “Those Winter Sundays” differ in the attitudes and tones of their speakers, they are alike in the complex family relationships and themes of familial love, masculinity and sacrifice, and nostalgic youth that they communicate to the reader. A close-reading of the poems, with special attention paid to the speakers and the ideas they are trying to get across, can end up telling far more about Theodore Roethke and Robert Hayden than they may like.
The speaker in “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke is a small boy having a grand old time waltzing with his father in the kitchen before bed. His father is a little rough with him, keeping time on his noggin and accidently scraping his ear against his belt buckle on every
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After all, both feature fathers working long hours as manual laborers to support their families, with varying levels of success. When they go home, they have a second shift waiting for them, consisting of childcare and domestic labor. Each man tries to show his sons how much he loves and cares about him in his own way. The speaker’s papa in “My Papa’s Waltz” puts more effort into childcare, waltzing his boy to bed every night. The mother would probably be a bit happy with him if he helped with the dishes rather than making their son hyper right before bedtime. The speaker’s father in “Those Winter Sundays” puts more effort into domestic labor so he can provide his family the basic tools they need for survival. As a result, his relationship with his son suffers. Something always slips through the …show more content…
Both Theodore Roethke and Robert Hayden are known for having daddy issues... The tones used and the attitudes conveyed while they address them in their works, however, is juxtaposing. Their choices in speakers make all the difference. Roethke speaks through his child persona, desperately trying to slip back into that beloved childhood memory of his papa waltzing him to bed. Hayden is also recalling a childhood memory but he is doing so from a distance, as an adult looking back. He is trying to dissociate himself from the events, showing just how ashamed he is of his younger self for not understanding how all the work his father did to show his

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