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Word Count: 640
A Readers Reaction to My Papas Waltz The poem My Papas Waltz by Theodore Roethke is a two tone piece full of ambiguity When readers approach this work they will arrive at one of two possible conclusionsthat this is an adults reflection of a memorable and joyous moment with his father or an unsettling description of child abuse using waltzing as a metaphor On the lighter side the first conclusion is of a sweet memory which has evidence throughout the poem The title My Papas Waltz gives a lighter tone to the piece The word Papa is a warm and affectionate word for father Also waltz is considered a more elegant form of dancing which is giving the poem a softer appeal The adult remembers that his Papa had smelt of whiskey while trying to teach him how to dance When waltzing the individual recalls that they romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf lines 5-6 The term romped is a light-hearted way of describing the waltzing When one envisions the word romp as used in this poem they see a father and son having a fun time bouncing around the kitchen table The mother frowns only because she sees her kitchen in shambles from the clumsy waltzing The child is subjected to a rougher form of waltzing than what would be expected on the ballroom floor but the memory could simply be when silly Papa tried to teach me to waltz when he was inebriated The child is then waltzed off to bed by his Papa after a difficult and playful dancing lesson On the dark side each piece of evidence that supports the first conclusion is refuted in various other lines The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy lines 1-2 depicts a drunken father whose breath is causing his small boy to become dizzy The child hangs on like death line 3 casts
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