My Papa’s Waltz

The relationship between the father and son in the poem
“My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke
Johan Oh

In the poem, “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, readers can find out
the love between the father and son. The father works hard for his family. After he
comes home, he dances with his son. Their dance is more like a running and
jumping, so the “pans slid from the kitchen shelf”. Their dance ends when the
father takes his son to his bed. The father loves his son very much, so he wants
dance with his son who is not tall enough to be a perfect partner. And the father
even doesn’t wash his hands because he rushes to play with his son. It is not just a
dance for them but also a play and a quality time for the father and son. The father
gives an unforgettable memory to his son. The son still remembers all the small
details about the scene, “the whiskey on the father’s breath”, his father’s “palm
cake hard by dirt”, and even the feeling when his “right ear scraps a buckle”. It is
because he enjoyed the moment with his father. Most people have some similar
memories about their father such as the father’s smell, the sound of his foot steps
near the door, a box of doughnuts on his hands, and so on. This poem reminds
readers of moments they had in the past with their father which is always kept
safely in their minds.


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