My Papa's Waltz

Good Essays
Hills 1
Beverly Hills
Jordan Simpson
English 101
25 July 2013 A Memory of a Lifetime

The poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” by Theodore Roethke is about a childhood memory written later in the adult narrator’s lifetime with his father. This poem reveals the relationship between the narrator and his father when they were waltzing about the room when he was still a small boy. This poem creates what appears to be an incident of a son who is being abuse by his father earlier in his childhood life. It is obvious that the author choice manipulation of words in this poem is what clearly shows that the young boy is being abuse instead of waltzing with his father. Childhood experiences are usually something that everyone would love to look back on in order to remember some of the wonderful memories that one has or had accomplished during childhood time. But for the narrator, it was a total opposite for him. He remembered when his father was drinking whiskey and smelling the alcohol from his father’s breath which indicates that he is an alcoholic. The speaker states, “The whiskey on your breath/could make a small boy dizzy” (1-2). It is also suggesting that the father has been drinking, but to a far heavier extent than one normally should because it is causing the boy to be dizzy by the mere smell of it. The adult narrator also points out when he was dancing with his father and in this poem he refers to it as waltz. He admitted that it was not easy for him to keep up with his father’s drunken steps, but was trying really hard to endure. The speaker states, “But I hung on like death:/such waltzing was not easy” (3-4). This also gives an idea that there is some sort of

Hills 2 violence happening and that the father is being rough

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