Abusive Relationships In 'My Papa's Waltz'

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There has been some debate about wether or not “My Papa’s Waltz” is about a boy and his fathers happy, joyful relationship or a abusive father son relationship. I believe that without a doubt it is about a abusive relationship. The author uses ambiguity to leave it to the reader to interrupt what he is truly speaking about, and i believe there is much evidence in this ambiguity that points to a abusive relationship. I do not believe that this poem is simply about a happy father and son, I think the poem goes much deeper then that and by doing so was a artistic outlet to speak about the abuse. The poem starts out by talking about the whiskey on the fathers breath. Not every father who drinks or smells of alcohol is a abusive one however it…show more content…
“We romped until the pans/Slid from the kitchen shelf”(5-6), this to me, sounds exactly how a person in any sort of abusive relationship would describe it. The speaker however is just romanizing it rather then coming right out and saying that the abusive would continue until things got out of control. As a child dealing with the abuse was probably extremely confusing, and as a adult looking back on it and writing about it was probably very challenging. In order to do so the author probably disassociated himself to an extent and wrote about the abuse in a more ambiguous way to avoid the pain of being so blunt. The following lines go onto say “My mothers countenance/Could not unfrozen itself” (7-8). Those two lines are another thing that to me as a reader lead me to believe something deeper was going on. A mother who is watching her son and husband flooring around and rough housing should not be so unamused. Most mothers in that situation feel some sort of happiness, or pleasure at that cliche situation. His mothers facial expression seemed to be bitter, and she could not help but frown. This sounds more like a mother whose at hit wits end and does not know what to do about what is going on during the…show more content…
“The hand that held my wrist/Was battered on one knuckle” (9-10), leads me to believe the father is involved in some sort of behavior that would cause his knuckles to be beat up. One could assume that would be from punching someone, or something. Having bruised and beaten knuckles is not as common as having a scrape or cut on ones hand. Bruised knuckles do not just happen haphazardly, it is much more likely bruised knuckles come from physical violence. It is also interesting that the speaker picks up on the fact his father is hurt, and yet seems unaffected by it. I remember when I was younger my dad cut himself by mistake and had a small scar from the cut, being so young I noticed it and was upset my dad had been hurt. This speaker seems to not be concerned his father has bruises, which leads me to believe his is somewhat desensitized to it all which is another common sign of

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