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My Papa's Waltz

Theodore Roethke

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Added by: tommy Bayport
I am sorry but every one is wrong that believes this is about abuse. It is about alcoholism.
1. The definition of waltz is to move in a conspicuous manner.
so this means that the father has waltzed in drunk with his problems(possibly alcoholism) before. The narrator describing the mans breath to make a small boy dizzy, showing that the child has previous experience with this situation
2. The best way to deal with this alcohholism for a child is to stand aside- noting the passive behavior.
3.The narrator is mostlikly the child( at an older age) judging from the diction.
4. Thethird stanza has metaphores, yes, but are protruding to a different position than child abuse. It is Alcohol abuse.
"such waltzing was not easy," describing the father and his problem of being an alcoholic.

"then waltzed me off to bed still clinging to your shirt." - yes the child is put in to a tough position, but must still rely on his father to take care of the child. Back to the definition of waltzing- Moving in a conspicuous manner. The Father is taking the child to bed, taking care of him as he usually does. see the picure yet well...
The title My papas waltz is singular representation a a father figure. Well, how can you have a waltz by yourself you as.. become an alcoholic and find out the true meaning of the poem for yourselp
you're all wrong
Added by: kk
This poem has nothing to do with people getting beaten. This boy is facinated by his fathers waltz and the mother's "countenance" is due to the fact that it's late and that they are dancing... has nothing to do with violence. "beat time on my head" means to count the steps so .. 1...2...3..4. of the waltz. get it? think twice//

you people watch too much TV and it leads you to think that everyting has to do with violence.

Added by: Jared De Lorenzo
I think the same as almost every other person about this poem. This is a wonderful tribute to a father. No matter the pain the boy goes through in the end he stays close and clings to his father in love. this is a good poem and i think that any who disagree are fools but that is just my look at things.
My Papa's Waltz
Added by: Brian
alright then, i think i have what Roethke was doing in this poem. The father is drunk after a day of work and is attempting to put his son to bed. the boy is clinging on to his drunk father because he doesnt want to go to bed. the waltz is the father clumsily walking with his son "[hanging] on like death." And "such waltzing was not easy." the mother doesnt approve of his drinking and how he is going about taking his son to bed, knocking over pot and pans in the kitchen. "that hand that held my wrist/was battered on one knuckle" meaning the father is grabbing his wrist, dragging him to bed, and the little boy is hitting his fathers hand bc he wants to be realeased, thus the "battered on one knuckle." the line about the belt buckle is about him still hanging on like death and his ear is scraping his fathers belt as his father "misses steps" or stumbles.
hey hey
Added by: big k
well i think this is a father who likes his drinking but downt like his kis and only plays with him once he has a a half gallon down and gets a little silly
Added by: Sylvia Sun
No doudt,it's a perfect poem,which expresses a deep love between a drunked father and his little boy.What he does is only to share his love with his boy.In the old days,that a laborer went towith his friendsto have a drink after a hard work was a common thing.You couldn't demmand a drunked man's grace .And the father's atitude for his boy is natural.Everyone has his own ways to express love.What he does for hiss child isn't absive at all.
Added by: Jessie
I don't think this is about abuse. It's about a father who comes home from the local bar and had one too many drinks. He isn't abuseing the boy only trying to have a good time. How in the world people got abuse out of danceing is beyond me.
Added by: mercedes
at first, i was in my english class and i thought it was about a father beating his son, and almost nobody agreed with me, i found out what it really was and if you read it you can see where i was coming from, but i like poems like this
Added by: kara
the father was drunk and the boy could smell it. His father was dancing with him and the small boy held on so tight so he wouldnt fall. He hit the pans and they began to slide from the kitchen shelf. While the mother just looked with a frown. The fathers hand held his hand his father hit him in his ear with a belt buckle and he was also beat on his head. The boy danced to sleep and was still holding on to the shirt. Theodore probably grew up to be drunk because his father was a drunk when he was younger.
My Papa's Waltz -meaning-
Added by: Amanda and Kristina
My Papa's Waltz
By Theodore Roethke

This poem has a kept form. Even at a glance, it has a set form. It consists of four quatrains, each line being an iambic tritameter. The poem is about a young boy waltzing with his father. One can assume that the speaker is a young boy, or perhaps the poet reminiscing his youth. The father dances around in a haphazard manner, knocking over pans in the kitchen. Upon first glance, the tone is humorous. The picture one immediately forms is rather comical with the boy clinging on for dear life as his chuckling father spins him round and round, making a mess in the kitchen while the mother looks on discontentedly. However, the line, "whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy" suggests the father's drunkedness and "at every step you missed my right ear scraped buckle" suggests the dance was not an altogether joyful one. Lines such as "hung on like death", and "beat time on my head" are might even lead the reader to think the father is abusive of the boy.
Indeed, the satirical tone of this poem suggests that the speaker is somewhat critical of his father. The whiskey smell, the roughness, the inconsiderate and reckless actions are under scrutiny. The mother's frowning countenance suggests she too is rather unhappy with the scene. However, the winning tone of the poem is the light and comical one.
The constant rhythm throughout the poem gives it a light beat, like a waltz; the reader feels like s/he is dancing. The rhyme pattern of the poem is between the first-third lines and second-fourth lines in the quatrain and this is kept throughout the poem. Stresses on words such as dizzy and easy and buckle and knuckle gives the poem a rather playful feel. The last line of the poem, "waltzed me off to bed still clinging to your shirt" infers the boy in very much dependent on his father and shows despite the elements of criticism, a father-son relationship based, at least partly on love.

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