My Papa’s Waltz Analysis Essay [2019]

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At first, by reading the title of the poem My Papa’s Waltz theme, the negative opinion related to the poem is formed. The writer Theodore Roethke inspirationally re-created the childhood happenstance with his own father, but he also tries to understand the actual meaning of this relationship that exists between father and son. Because of the few words in the poem, it’s understandable why people created an adverse opinion related to the poem.

my papa's waltz analysis essay

Further good critical thinking and the interpretation of My Papa’s Waltz allows individual readers to know better what Theodore Roethke really mean and want to convey through this poem. In the starting line of this poem “The whiskey on your breath” is expressive enough to create the image in mind of the readers that the man (father) is drunk. The other worlds like “Could make the small boy dizzy” moreover exemplify the heavy drinking of a man. It’s not right practice when the drunk adult presents herself or himself to the kid. The poem interpreted as the portrayal of the kid’s experience of the abuse or beating from his father (Roethke).

my papa's waltz analysis essay

Poem: My papa’s waltz analysis

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I hung on like the death” convey the terrible feeling of the kid that he experienced while facing the drunken father. Here the word death is used to highlight the weakness of the kid contrary to his drunken father. Without a doubt, the kid waltzing with the drunken father is the difficult chore as defined in the poem line “Such waltzing is not easy”.

my papa's waltz analysis essay

My Papa’s Waltz theme reflects that waltzing with the drunken father is unsuitable and causing the disruption and impose a negative impact on the behavior and the growth of the kids. The poem also shows that the mother is also unhappy by this situation and his husband drinking but not able to do anything to stop this because she is weak. It also reflects that the drunken father battered the kids like from the word buckle that is used in the poem it reflects that the father was beat the kid with the belt.

The writer used the attractive words to present the scene that it grasps the attention of the readers and also explain them the situation in a virtuous manner. By the words, it’s observed that the waltz is one kind of violent act. This waltz that is used in the poem is not the joyful one but the bad experience of the kid with his drunken father who abuses him during his drunken position (Roethke).


my papa's waltz questions

The poem portrays the sad attitude and somewhat sarcastic tone, proposing that the individuals remembering their childhood is precarious of their fathers. The roughness, the whiskey smell and the reckless, unkind action of their fathers were criticized and scrutinized in the poem. But there exists another reflection of the poem that indicates the different track of the philosophies. The poem conveys the other message that is contrary to the initial impression of the poem. The other explanation of the writer suggests the dance.


Therefore the poem name is My Papa’s Waltz.  My papa’s waltz connotation evoked the good memories for the readers related to their childhood. As the old man in this poem, sentences remembers his dad who was the hardworking employee. The particular scenes reflect when the father after the day work come back home with the scraped hands.

y papa's waltz connotation

The father was the tough and strong man, yet the respectable man who works hard for fulfilling all the needs of his family. For those persons, his poem is considered as the memory of their childhood when one night the father came late at home because he is celebrating the event with his friends in the local pub. Father entered the house and picked up his kid and swinging the son around in the dizzying waltz. Kid and father playfully danced and do the wrestling in the house living room, these scenes making this poem happy and funny for the readers (Roethke).

The kid dancing with the drunken father will make the readers of the poem thinking that the kid is enjoying with his father. The mother saw their reactions and annoyed that they shelf the things of the house. This shows the positive connection between the kid and the father and mainly between the son and the father.

my papa's waltz interpretation

The poem has the winning tone which is light and practically comical. The continuous rhythm throughout this poem gives it with the light beat similar to the waltz. It reflects that the kid was highly affectionate toward his father. The poem starts with the serious tone and ends up with the playful tone that emphasizes the caring attitude of the father toward the kid and shows the strong and happy bonding between son and the father. The kid values his father and his hardworking and appreciates his father that he works hard for fulfilling the needs of the family and for improving their living standard.

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It is concluded that my papa’s waltz metaphor through its simple manner effectively managed and delivered the two different reactions of the same situation. One concept interprets this poem with the negative association and the other with the positive implication. The person judgment depends on their personal experience and relation with their fathers. The boy definitely requires this type of experience with his father.

my papa's waltz analysis tone

The father must care and show a positive attitude toward his kid. The kid must see his father in the playful and light mood, mainly when he is drinking alcohol and not to beat or abuse his kid because it affects their mindset and imposes a negative impact on their childhood memories and behavior development. The poem does not support the beating of a father to the kid in a drunken situation that harms the kid.

But support the free-spirited type of the dancing and the happy behaviour of the father that not harm the boy. It’s sweet and funny to see the father reflex and happy mood contrast to his normal tough mood because this is important to bring the children closer with his father and make their bonding stronger that is good for the growth of children and his behaviour throughout the life.

Work cited

Roethke, Theodore. My Papa’s Waltz. n.d. <>.


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