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My Papa's Waltz

Theodore Roethke

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Added by: Teresa
I have been told that this poem, My Papa's Waltz, was about a child who is being abused and is too young to know it. I disagree. What is the most popular interpretation of this poem?
Added by: BOB
Added by: Erica
At first I thought this poem was about child abuse, but it's really not. It's about a hardworking alcholic father, who is just playing with his son. I liked it.
Added by: Renee
A child recalls waltzing with his drunken father. His papa's breath stank of whiskey, his moves were clumsy and borderline abusive, and the son's love and fear caused him to cling to his father "like death."
Added by: Whof Harted
this poem reminded me of when my father beated me when i ws a child. Even though he severly scard me i still love him, even when he threw pool balls at me and beat me with his wooden cain. This is a good poem
Added by: Cliff Casey
A child recalls waltzing with his drunken father.
My Outlook
Added by: Underpar Golfer
This poem is ironic in the sense that dancing is meant to be something to draw people together rather than to pull them apart. The narrator(boy) is recalling "waltzing" with his father at a young age experiencing the conflict of his clashing emotions: fear and love. He was literally clinging to his father for his life. The poems uses both comforting and frigthening and comforting images throughout the poem spinning them back and forth (spinning refers to waltzing). No abuse, but borderline abusive. Overall, I just think it's a cool poem.
Added by: Megan
I have no idea how this got abuse from it. I mean I guess the father tapping his hand on his head could somehow be seen as abuse or maybe just I look at it differently. I see a boy who is dancing with his dad who is a hardworking man and alcoholic. I don't see it as abusive I see that no matter what he still loves his father.
Added by: Richard Pierce
Interesting poem which is ambivalent about boy's relationship with his father.
Added by: peter
this poem is about a boy and his dad. it is a happy memory. probably one of the few good memories he had in his childhood. his father is and alcoholic. he was probably abused but i cannot be proven through the text of the poem.

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