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My Papa's Waltz

Theodore Roethke

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Added by: Ashley
I think this is a poem about a boy that has a drunk father or an abusive father, and he is charishing the few minutes of love and dancing with his father.
Added by: Katherine Gregg
What I think is that the child is trying to say something to the father and he is not listening, but the mother is just so tired of it and wants it to all stop. I also think that the poem is saying that this not the only time this has happened to him because he could at a young age already know the smell of what his dad was drinking. I also think that this is not an abusvie story if it was why would the kide be clinging to his fathers shirt? that is what I do not think that poeple understand every time they hear something that involves an object or a drunk person (father) they always will just say "Hey that must be about a kide being abused by his father , but I think that you should always back up what you think with facts form the story! RIGHT
Added by: Whittney Knight
I think this poem is mainly about how the dad abusies the young son. I think this is alot about abuse issuies. I really dont like this peom mainly b/c it is a negative vibe and it doesnt really describe anything it keeps you guessing and wondering about what gonna happen next. But i really wish i knew what it is about b/c its too confusing.
Added by: David
This poem has deep meaning, I think he was not only afraid of his dad at the time but he was kind of enjoying the time with him that he may have not have had before I mean of course he was aware that something was up with his dad and that but his dad was known as a abuser and a drunk this might not have what people think this might have been an unusual experience for him because he was expecting his dad to come home and be violent but this time he might not have been and the kid did not know what to expect.
Added by: Kelly Wade
I can't believe his father would be so mean to get drunk and then abuse him. Where is the authorites when you need them? Of course, this was written a long time ago. I feel his pain reading the poem, and i give empathy to him. I think his poem is a big well thought out metaphor and deserves an award.
Added by: Joseph V.
I think he is writing about his dad beating him to get him into the bed, but he wouldn't and didn't want to so he held onto him as hard as he could so he didn't have to go to bed. So that is why that he was beating him and as he was getting beatin his mom was watching and frowning. Also they were knocking all the plates and everything onto the floor.
Added by: John
I first read the poem for an English assignment. My initial opinion was of a mild form of abuse; however, I now believe that Roethke intended to convey multiple facets to the reader. Both fear and joy are present throughout the poem in many forms. At the same time, I have enjoyed reading the comments and will probably join future discussions (on literature)
Added by: Veronica
When I first read this poem I thought automatically that it was about a boy being abused, but when you look over it several times it really doesn't mean that he was beaten. I agree with the other people who said that he was remembering his father, who was drunk and worked hard. Oh, and I also have to add something, a person made a comment on this page about the person in the poem not being a boy, and well, if that person had been smart, they would have read the beginning of the poem again. It says, "The whiskey on your reath could make a small boy dizzy", I don't think the author of the poem would have referred to what a boy felt like unless he was a boy. How would a girl know that whiskey would make a boy dizzy. Next time, make sure you read the poem before you write an opinion.
Added by: Kaydian
To me this poem is about a young man looking back at the times that he use to spend with his father. Even though his father was drunk and somethimes he got hurt, he never blamed his father, he took the blame because he loved his father.
Abuse or Loving Memory?
Added by: Sherry J.
I think that this poem was about abuse. Depending on what era you were born in would probably sway your emotions more on what this poem means to you. I lived in an abusive home, where abuse was a bad word to speak of. It was something you told a family member who was trusted, they'd talk to the abuser and threaten his/her life to quit the abuse and then you were told not to ever talk about it again. (Like that will make everything ok.) My mother frowned alot too. It's because she was hit alot and felt powerless to protect her children.
This poem is written in metaphors. Roethke's is a writer and you talk about abuse in the only way it will make you feel any confort at all. If you've never been abused, then it would be difficult to read abuse into this poem. As an adult looking back, I can sometimes remember a pointed shoe kicking me as I was on the floor but I also remember a Dad picking me up and comforting me when my cousin wouldn't play with me. That is a cherished memory. You grab all the attention you can get because in spite of everything, you still love your parent. I think this poem was Roethke's way of telling his Dad he'd forgiven him and still loved him.

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