My papa s Waltz is a poem written by Roethke. The speaker reflects on the experience of a son and his father. Many people who have made My papa s Waltz Analysis hold that the poem reflects happy relationship existing between a son and his father. Other thinks that it reflects hidden parental abuse towards children. However, looking at My papa s Waltz critically, the language, imagery, tone and symbolism used in the poem gives me an impression that the poem depicts love between a son and his father, but not abusive relationship.
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There are some lines that might make the reader think that the father abuses the son. But this poem shows a father who come home after a drinking spree and begins to dance with his loving son. As reflected in the poem, the boy does not hung on his shirt because he fears the father, but he did not want to fall while dancing together with his father. If the son was being beaten by the father the mother would have reacted differently instead of just frowning. The mother was instead angry because the pans and pots were flying everywhere. She also did not want to be seen laughing at the son and the father who were immersed into real dancing. The hands of the father were also hard and dirty not because of beating the child, but because he spent his time working in a green house. The child is also breathless not because of the beating or fearing to be beaten, but because of the dancing together with the father. He holds the shirt of the father because he does not to go to sleep, but to continue enjoying his time dancing with the father. Therefore, as seen in the above My papa s Waltz Analysis, the poem does demonstrate abusive relationship; instead it shows strong relationship between the son and the father.