My Papa’s Waltz BY GMe10822 Andres Barbeito Professor Garcia ENCI 102 April 1, 2013 Born in Saginaw Michigan, Theodore Roethke had a troubling childhood. With his works as evidence, one can see that he had to bear a handful of calamities most of his life, one of them being his relationship with his father. Now, the love for a father is a very distinctive love. In “My Papa’s Waltz”, Theodore Roethke does an excellent Job describing the relationship he has with his father. In this short poem, one can easily get a taste of the type of childhood issues Roethke ad to endure.However, he illustrates unconditional love as his tone by employing rhythm, metaphors, and imagery. “My Papa’s Waltz” is written in the format of ABAB. Examples of this rhythm can be seen with words that end each line such as “breath; dizzy; death; easy”.
“Dizzy” and “Easy’ don’t rhyme perfectly, but they still fit the ABAB rhyme scheme. Although it may be a bit ofa stretch, the ABAB format may be used to symbolize the consistency of Roethke’s love for his The whole poem is basically a metaphor in and of itself. The idea of the father’s “Waltz” s actually representing the enduring relationship the writer and his father have.They went through this dance like a routine. The waltz may be a symbolic reference to the reoccurring hardships Roethke would sustain from his father. And of course, he would withstand all of this because of his unconditional love.
Throughout the poem, Roeothke injects pure imagery into the reader’s mind. In the first stanza, he states, “The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. ” Here, he plainly shows his adversity with his ather by demonstrating his drinking problem.On the last stanza, he writes, “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 last stanza gives off the image of a child holding for dear life to the one person he seems to love the most, his father. Overall, Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” is a short and beautiful poem that demonstrates the love a son has for his father, even with the problems he faces.
By employing a certain some metaphors, and painting a picture in the audience’s minds, one can make out unconditional