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My Papa's Waltz

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Bernard Tsetse Poetry Commentary 8 October 2010 Bheka Pierce 479 words My Papa's Waltz "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke is about a man looking back at the past of an event that occurred between him and his dad. This poem reveals the relationship between the father and son. The speaker who is now an adult portrays his time with his father as a crucial event in their relationship. The speaker describes his father as a hearty who knew how to give his son a jolly good time and at the same time challenging him to follow his lead in a metaphorical dance. ...read more.


In the first stanza, the speaker illustrates the waltz as a rough combination of movements. This is so due the fact that the father is drunk. This shows the type of quality time the speaker spent with his father. The speaker goes on to say that, the whisky from his father's breathe was overwhelming a boy of his age, but he continues to dance with his father in spite of the challenge of dancing with his drunk father. He also indicates that even though his father was not easy to follow, the speaker uses the simile "I hang on like death" to portray the fortitude relationship he had with his father by keeping up with him. ...read more.


The speaker goes ahead and describes the state of his father's hand saying one knuckle was battered. This description of the father's hands shows that, the father was a laborer who works with his hands rather than a man who worked in an office. In the fourth and final stanza, father and son roughly continue with their metaphorical dance; the father beats time on his son's head with a palm caked hard by dirt. He finally waltz his son to bed but the son clings to his shirt portraying the speaker's despair of having ending a dance that had provided time of liveliness with his dad. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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