My Papa's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

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“My Papa’s Waltz” is the illusive narrative of Theodore Roethke’s speaker’s childhood. The speaker is a boy who deeply loves his father despite him being a drunk. Even though his father could be rough at times, this boy’s childhood memories are well treasured in his heart and mind. Roethke sets the tone to the ‘waltz’ by utilizing situations, descriptions, and unique characteristics throughout his character’s childhood associated to his father. Roethke allows the reader to experience situations throughout his character’s childhood in all four stanzas of the poem. He begins by illustrating the simile of his father’s walking while being drunk as being a complicated non rhythmic dance. This clumsy dance continues through his childhood and at times it would end with rough play by both, father and child, in the kitchen. The romping and unsteady walk of his father will sometimes end up hurting the boy for he says, “At every step you missed my right ear scraped a buckle.” Finally the reader can appreciate the intense, caring, and loving relationship the speaker had with his father because regardless of being drunk his dad would always put his boy to sleep even though the child still wanted to play. The descriptions and diction…show more content…
Relationships to one’s parents are personal and unlike any other parent-child relationship which make each one unique. The reader can infer when the author says, “but I hung on like death: such waltzing was not easy,” that having a father who is a drunk could be complicated but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an unpleasant relationship. Even more, it is uncommon to see a drunk person demonstrate such care and love displayed by the boy’s father in the final stanza which says, “Then waltzed me off to bed still clinging to your shirt.” The irony simply is being drunk in
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