The contentious word changes in the original manuscripts are vir t uall y inconclus ive. Anyone that has ever loved knows that it is mysterious and unexplainable, and the way it is expressed differs from person to person. R evisions and To nes The extr emely negat i ve ana l ys i s and g eneral uneas i nes s t oward the poem may be explained without resorting to unsupported conclus ions. Roethke began teaching at Lafayette University and later Michigan State College, where students found him to be a superb teacher. In the beginning, the speaker shows that he might not be having as much fun with the waltz as he would have thought. The mother's presence is important, she provides a contrast to the powerful, near out of control father. The father could be viewed as a dominating and overpowering force to a small child.
Roethke had close literary friendships with fellow poets , , , and. Other people believe that this poem has a hidden message of parental abuse. We need not choose between the two views of the father, nor indeed should we attempt to. Upon recovering he accepted a job at Pennsylvania State University and published his first book of verse, Open House 1941. These images of the son imply a hard working father who had just come home from the plant and was spending time with his little son before putting him to bed.
This dance may not be all fun and games for the boy — he keeps scraping his ear on his dad's belt buckle, ouch! On May 25, 1908, Theodore Roethke was born in Saginaw, Michigan. Roethke adds in the poem that the mother's expression was not pleasent, which tells the reader that maybe dad had a little too much with dinner I hate. My Papa's Waltz is about a moment in life of a family, mostly the relationship of a father and son. This trend in painting becomes to be known as Abstract Expressionism. As a student at Saginaw's Arthur Hill High School, Roethke demonstrated early promise in a speech on the Junior Red Cross that was subsequently published in twenty-six languages. After examining the form of this poem, the content can be added into the analysis and a deeper meaning can be inferred. This was based on the certain diction and meaning of words, as well as the connotation of lines throughout the poem.
The form of the poem that I found most engaging was the unique way Roethke chose his words of rhythm. This blog is focused towards my English 3 class where I will be academically analyzing various pieces of writing throughout the quarter. This adds to the stumbling effect of the poem. But the child is fearful of the father's strength, he can smell the liquor on his breath. This particular experience, however, was more of the heart and the body than of the mind. The poem has a regular and full rhyme scheme, abab, with an exception in the first stanza.
The dance thus serves as a metaphor for the overall relationship between father and son: intimate and vitally important for the boy, but also dizzying and anxiety provoking. I chose this poem because this poem is often misunderstood by readers and I too was misunderstood by the actual story of the poem which made me want to know more about it. In the first two stanzas, a very young Roethke tells of his drunken father dancing with him in the kitchen. It is not about abuse, for all the reasons stated. Later on the child is ' still clinging' to the father's shirt as they go dancing off to bed.
The more convincing interpretation is that it has a hidden message of parental abuse. Through diction and details, the speaker conveys his complex attitudes toward his father. Or do you fear for both him and his mother? You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt. This drunk father, is abusing the child. The style and tone of this poem, make the even more like a rare treasured occurrence than a common nightly event. Roethke displays affinities to both of these groups. Theodore Roethke 1908-1963 was born and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, eventually going on to Harvard and then into teaching poetry in Washington.
Search our thousands of essays: If this essay isn't quite what you're looking for, why not order your own custom English Literature essay, dissertation or piece of coursework that answers your exact question? Roethke's father was, yes, a drinker. In the end, there is something warm about the image of the father dancing his son off to be tucked in for the night. I hope to go to medical school one day. The fact that the father works hard everyday and drinks lots, the son still clings onto the father like he was someone he wanted to be. If the reader thought that the poem described an abusive father, they might see this line as meaning that the father knocked the son unconscious by beating him. The words of a poem create a series of filters that eliminate possible meanings.
These rhythmic disturbances provide readers with a palpable sense of the clumsiness of the actual dance. From my point of view, the poem is more likely to be about the enjoyable time between the father and the son and I would explain this by discussing on the word choice, tone and rhythm of the poem. Some people think that this poem is one of a happy exchange between a father and son. Those who see they joy in the poem downplay the diction of violence. At the age of five Roethke entered the John Moore School, and in 1921 he moved on to Arthur Hill High School.