This is one of my favorite poems because it leaves room for two very different interpretations, and I think it would be interesting to choose one of those interpretations and then base your thesis statement off that. Form The poem is in the form of a loose ballad. Finally, to say that the boy "hung on like death" to his father because their "waltzing was not easy" is a bit troubling. In this poem the speaker will illustrate the family views using a certain word choice and the tone he uses. He does all this on a daily basis, which in itself is a form of order. However, romped and waltzed continue to seem positive. You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt.
The meaning of the story is hidden within the words that is about an abusive father. Moreover, the use of imagery in the poem shows that the speaker experienced some pain in the family. The title is actually a metaphor for the relationship between the father and the son that dances between love and resentment. Buy Study Guide A speaker remembers events from his childhood. The narrator, instead of just describing the waltz with his father, uses this meter to give a real feel to the poem. Although the son continues with his love and hates expression through his dance with his father, the situation shows that both love each other despite conflicts and estrangement at home.
Roethke allows readers to see the effects that child abuse can have on someone and how it can stay with them for their entire life. Those who choose this interpretation will point to the mother's displeasure with the rowdy scene, the smell of whisky that is strong enough to make the narrator "dizzy," and the battered knuckle, indicating that the father has come home from a fight. The mother is introduced into the scene as an aloof figure who disapproves of the waltz of the father and the son. Explication Lines 1-2: The first order of business in a poem is to establish situation and mood, and Roethke selects the father's drinking as the foremost fact to be conveyed. ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews. It reflects the violence and tension that exists between the father and the son. The son loves his father despite his roughness but also fears him.
Shifts: Note shifts in speakers and attitudes or form Title: Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level Theme: Determine what the poet is saying. That's a pretty strong and violent sounding word choice. The Silences of Poetry. The father, as we shall see, punishes his son for his own shortcomings. Without any negative signs of abuse that is not stated in the words, but the meaning is all about abuse.
The poems majorly deal with the connection existing between a father and the son. In the poem almost every other line is end-stopped. This alternation of the rhythms mirrors the waltz of the drunk father who misses the steps while dancing. Despite the roughness, he loves his father. The title is ambiguous, and it leaves it up to the reader to interpret what it means. The poem itself is ambiguous and quite difficult to interpret clearly.
He also keeps time by tapping against his head. Most critics today recognize the poet's attempt at a tonal balance between fear and delight, and its implementing of a rocking rhythm in its Because of the ongoing debate between those who view the thematic elements of "My Papa's Waltz" in a positive light and those who deem it a traumatic memory, the poem has been both praised and denigrated by critics. With no context other than the title, he then throws the reader right into the middle of the event, recalling vividly how he was holding on for dear life while his father engaged him in a waltz. Further investigation suggests there is more going on than a waltz. The sense of the first line is continued with the next one. He sees that his knuckle seems battered. It was first published in 1942, then collected in his book The Lost Son and Other Poems in 1948.
That is the importance of the theme connecting the relationship existing between the father and the son. For example: The whis key on your breath line 1 The use of the iambic trimeter is significant because its rhythm is somewhat like that of the waltz. It can be interpreted as a beautiful memory of the narrator from his childhood while it can also be taken as a confession of child abuse. The poem is said in the past tense. Symbols Waltz The waltz of the father and the son is a symbol of the relationship between them. He and his father waltz in the kitchen and then his father takes him to his bed.
The poem has a happy tone of the sons childhood days. Masculinity The poem also reflects traditional masculinity where the father is the head of the family. The simile, again, seems to present a mixture of feelings. Tone of the Poem The poem can be interpreted as playful or resentful. The strong and rough hands of the father not only shows the hard labor he does but the difficulty he faces while expressing his affection towards his son in a softer way. When a person batters another individual, his or her knuckles are frequently bruised. Do you see him as an alcoholic child-abuser or a fun-loving, though rowdy, father? Waltzing with his father is not easy for him but he tries to match steps with him.