My Bassham 1
Imagery; “My Papas’ Waltz”
In the poem "My Papa's Waltz" written by Theodore Roethke, the interpretation of the poem depends on the readers ‘perspective. Some people think that this poem is one of a happy exchange between a father and son. Other people believe that this poem has a hidden message of parental abuse. In my point of view, the imagery and language, the symbolism, and tone in the poem gave me the impression of the love between the father and son, not of an abusive relationship between them that somewhat unfolds. When introduced to the poem "My Papa's Waltz," the reader begins making assumptions on what the poem may or may not be about. For example, a reader may assume that "Papa" shows an affectionate nickname for the father and the "waltz" will show an interpretation of the relationship between the narrator and his father. Therefore, it is immediately assumed that the poem will be told from the narrator's present tense. Instead, it is actually told by Roethke as an adult, remembering the event from his childhood as thoroughly as possible. Consequently, the reader has the liberty of reading dueling perspectives: the memory of the event from an adult perspective along side the innocent point of view of a child who inevitably admires his father. These dueling narrators, both within Roethke himself, struggle to find common ground throughout the Bassham2
poem, providing the reader with great tension on his feelings toward his father. Within this first stanza is more than just dueling perspectives. Also, the reader begins forming new conclusions on the father and event. For instance, one may assume that an abundance of drinking has occurred; however, it could merely have been one single glass. A young boy would not understand such drinking, but Roethke as an adult is showing his reader's that his father was drunk; therefore, leaving them to decide the truth of the...
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