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Word Count: 958
Relationsips with Fathers The narrator of My Papas Waltz Theodore Roethke discusses a very heartbreaking and distressful situation when looking back at his childhood remembering a scene perhaps one frequently enacted where he and his drunken father waltz wildly through the house An interpretation of My Papas Waltz takes into account the complexity of what the speaker feels that are bought about by the father A dance is supposed to bring two people closer but here it has a darker side to it that makes one realize the powerfully unsettling emotion under the surface of the poem Theodore Roethke manipulates our emotional response to the poem through a number of literary conventions some of which play on the conventions of a waltz The speaker sets a picture by establishing frightening images followed by some comforting ones The speaker begins a sort of perturbing image The whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy By this line one can imagine the little boys plight of having to go along with this waltz The second stanza begins with words We romped until the pansslid from the kitchen shelf Although delight in the romp are obvious those feelings are shadowed by an undercurrent of tension that are captured in some of the words Hung on like death3 such a waltz was not easy4 You beat time on my head13 clinging to your shirt16 In this poem we can say that the father apparently works hard all day but instead of hurrying home to his wife and child he stops by a bar and gets drunk The image of his palm caked hard by dirt14 indicates not only that he works hard but that he hasnt stopped by the house to get cleaned up before heading ton the bar Another fact could be revealed that The hand that held his sons wristwas battered on one
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