Hence the transfer of anger to the buckle symbolically. A waltz is a three beat dance. This dance may not be all fun and games for the boy — he keeps scraping his ear on his dad's belt buckle, ouch! As you read what sort of rhythm do you get a sense of? Therefore, it is immediately assumed that the poem will be told from the narrator's present tense. The reader can interpret the poem however they see fit. From the beginning, this poem states the conflict between a father and son involved in a rambunctious dance, but as it continues, the story suggests the dance may actually be a physical altercation. Do you think the rhyme scheme helps the poem? One of the poetic techniques is metaphor.
But like all good poetry, the reader brings their own experience to the poem, and it could be interpreted several ways. In America, which had largely escaped the devastation, this process of redefining oneself took several different forms. The four line, four stanza format of the poem touches on the repetitive nature of the relationship between the father and son. Romped has an alternate meaning of simply energetic play. Was Roethke reminiscing a moment of familial bonding, or was he all uding t o chi l d abus e? Although the mother looks but does not get involved, she feels bad that she cannot keep her husband from beating their son. The past becomes part of the present in the process of recalling it. Others believe that there is love and hardship between the father and son.
The tone in the story is so dreary that it has to be abuse. The poem gives the impression of the love and hardship between the father and son through the imagery and language, the tone in the poem and the symbolism. He describes the beatings as a waltz because he sees it as such. For instance, one may assume that an abundance of drinking has occurred; however, it could merely have been one single glass. The meter is trecet iamb stressed unstressed — three times per line. Over a half-century ago, poet Theodore Roethke wrote of a frolic between a father and his son.
The first stanza tells the reader that the father has had perhaps too much whiskey to drink. In the end, there is something warm about the image of the father dancing his son off to be tucked in for the night. Maybe that is why Roethke wrote the poem this way because the event was probably happening in many households and people then could identify with this. We can dread the inevitable deaths of our fathers, or of our parents in general, but most of all, we hope they won't die until we're older. This pattern is repeated throughout this poem, and the waltz soon spins fast out of control to a point where we can only focus on the sequence of whirling emotion rather than coherent overall feelings. When he was a child his parents owned a large floral and produce business, and the young Roethke spent much time in the greenhouses among the plants, an environment which would greatly influence his early work.
Upon graduation he entered the school of law, but quickly realized that it was a mistake and withdrew after attending only one class. The two superior interpretations of critics are that Roethke's poem describes abuse or a dance. Make notes as you go along just in case you forget something important. However, if the reader thought that the poem was simply a playful dance between the father and son, this line could just be thought of as the father dancing his son down the hall and off to bed. This motion is simple and repetitive throughout the course of the waltz, just as the poem itself is simple and repetitive in form. He has control over the child's bed time.
The author Roethke coats his words with such a positive outlook when in the words he coats are negative. This is the initial indication that the father and son were dancing. The poem is built of four stanzas quatrain , each consisting of four lines. It seems the title is pretty self-evident. My Papa's Waltz is about a moment in life of a family, mostly the relationship of a father and son.
His father had a horticultural business and many poems reflect Roethke's interest in the greenhouses he worked in when a boy. Words like romped and waltzed add to the informality. It seems like a normal scene of a family, however, this poem makes readers confused about the relationship of this family, that it is a happy or unhappy moment of the family. . Bloom, Harold, editor, Theodore Roethke, New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Other people believe that this poem has a hidden message of parental abuse. There are several themes threading through each other.
You could argue that yes, it does. You may need to read through at least three times before starting any serious analysis. You could argue that this poem has a playful, carefree sort of atmosphere. The contentious word changes in the original manuscripts are vir t uall y inconclus ive. Throughout the poem, the use of similes and Gamerdinger 2 metaphors are used in order to better develop the relationship of. Roethke imparts his views on the sources and functions of poetry and his approach to writing. Even when a parent is abusive you do have some good memories of them long after they are gone; so regardless of whether or not Roethke was abused personally I don't think Roethke was abused , this is a poem about a good time in his life he shared with his father.
Whether it was an abusive relationship or a loving relationship that was misunderstood by many. In an attempt to illuminate the author's true intention several factors must be examined. Other people believe that this poem is describing the abuse of a child and how torn up the family is. It is not difficult to understand why a mom might frown upon buffoonery. What is his attitude toward this situation? We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. The hand that held my wrist Was battered on one knuckle; At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt What Is 'My Papa's Waltz' About? In these poems, Roethke seems to be exploring ways to come to terms with his childhood and adolescence. This observation correlates with the relationship between the father and son in the poem.