Theodore Roethke “My Papa’s Waltz” Formal Argument In “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke the speaker, a young boy, takes us through a dance with his father. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia felt that the boy’s experience was a fun, playful one however, my interpretation of this poem differed. The speaker uses details in this poem that tell the story of a fun yet frightening dance with his father. The speaker starts by letting us know that the father is drunk.
He is dancing and twirling his small son who seems both excited and fearful at the same time. The Mother seems annoyed that she will have to be the one who cleans the mess that is being made. The ending of the dance leaves you wondering “Is this more than a dance?” Roethke uses Imagery, Rhyme, and Similes to pull you into the scene of “My Papa’s Waltz.” Initially, we see the use of Imagery of Olfactory when Roethke states “The Whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy;” you immediately relate to the father being drunk, and can almost smell the alcohol. The rest of the Imagery In the poem is visual; he paints the picture of the dance with the Mother standing by with a frown and the Dad’s holding the small little boy tightly by the wrist. “The hand that held my wrist was battered on one knuckle” can give the image that maybe the father is forcing the boy to dance with him.
Billy's world - Coping with loss of mother. - Less responsibilities - Family connection very strong - Internal conflict. Growing up His love of dance is a source of growing up because he will have to choose to go against his family and community to be happy. Juxtaposition with peacefulness from Billy's house playing piano to suddenly changed to coal strike scene where its loud and disruptive. The pressure to Billy "disgrace to
“Could make a small boy dizzy” is telling us that the fathers breathe smells of alcohol. The smell of alcohol is getting to the son that is why he feels dizzy (line 2). In the line “But I hung on like death” is stating that the son was on his father’s leg and he was holding on tightly. The description “like death” introduces a note of fear (line 3). The line “Such waltzing was not easy” indicates that the father and son were dancing.
This motif also appears on the next person who influences Siddhartha. Siddhartha’s inner voice leads him to Samsara and to Kamala after he leaves the Buddha. Kamala represents a deviation from the path of enlightenment, yet a significant step in Siddhartha’s journey. This is why Kamala does not wear the smile of enlightenment, but uses flirtatious smiles and laughs to teach Siddhartha. On their first meeting, “Kamala smiled and played with her fan… and thereupon Kamala laughed aloud” (Hesse 44).
Father and Son Waltz What is the difference between love and abuse? While reading “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke it could easily be seen how this poem can be portrayed as abusive opposed to loving. The words and tone of this poem seems hurtful and strong. For example, the son is described to hanging to his father “like death” (Roethke 3). Those words sound really negative, when in reality the son is holding on to his father, while dancing, so he would not fall to the ground.
The word whiskey automatically brings up thought of drinking while the word waltzing brings up meaning of dancing. Both instances are what the small boy remembers about his papa. The memory of the whiskey on papa’s breath may not be a good memory or it may be because of the time waltzing or romping he got to do with his papa. Countenance was a word I did not know and had to look up for the meaning, “my mother’s countenance could not unfrown itself” (lines (7-8) made more sense when I replaced the word countenance with facial expression. The mother was not happy the two were romping through the house or she may not be happy for others reasons such as, the papa smelling of whiskey or the time of night it was.
The perceptions of belonging and not belonging can be influenced by connections to relationships. This idea is illustrated In the Film Strictly Ballroom by Baz Luhmann and the song She’s leaving home by the Beatles. Making a choice not to belong will take courage to stand up to the majority group. The character of scott stands up to the dancing world after becoming boxed when in a competition by two other dancers by dancing his own moves to escape from being boxed in. This shows the true identity of who Scott truly wishes to be and how he wants to break outside the mould of what his Mother and the Ballroom dancing community thing he should be.
The boy is felling a little uncomfortable when he is dancing with his father," the hand that hold my wrist was buttered on one knuckle"(9-10). The boy is trying to enjoy the dancing with his father. At the end the boy is happy because he is enjoying the dancing the line that shows his joy is "then waltz me off to bed / still clinging to your shirt"(15-16). The boy is happy so he do not want to led his father go so he is clinging to his shirt. The author showed us some fear, some uncomforted a lot of mess but at the last paragraph the author shows us what the poems is about .
The symbolism and colour has made me realise the importance that we need to be careful of the people we interact with because it can alter our perspective of belonging. The centralisation of the white line suggests that the dad is trying to break through the barrier which the brothers have put up. Previous encounters of an individuals environment affects their sense of belonging. throughout the book, ‘The Simple Gift’, Billy is searching for belonging as he was alienated due to his father and where he lived. The poem, ‘Longlands Road’, creates an image where Billy lived with his father.