My Papa's Waltz

258 Words2 Pages
“My Papa’s Waltz” The vagueness of “My Papa’s Waltz” makes it difficult to be certain what it is about. Some might argue that the poem is a tale of child abuse, but it is more likely telling the story of a father and son’s horseplay. “The whiskey on your breathe could make a small boy dizzy.” This line doesn’t refer to the father as being stumbling drunk. Many people have an evening drink without getting drunk. “But I hung on you like death.” The boy holds on like his life depends on it because he is having so much fun, not because he is terrified as it may seem. “We romped until the pans slid from the kitchen shelf; my mother’s countenance could not unfrown itself.” The rowdy danced in the kitchen sent pans sliding across the counter. The wording suggests that the mother may have been trying to hold back a smile. “The hand that held my wrist was battered on one knuckle.” This line seems to point to damage done by abuse the father committed, but upon reading further the father’s palms are caked with dirt. The damage on the knuckle and the dirt on his palms suggests that his line of work is rough on his hands. The ambiguity of the poem makes it easy to interpret either way. “My Papa’s Waltz” could easily be taken for a horrifying story of child abuse. Upon reading into the story however, it appears just as likely to be about a father roughhousing with his
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