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Misinterpretations of a Waltz in My Papa’s Waltz

“Misinterpretations of a Waltz” in My Papa’s Waltz

“We romped until the pans / Slid from the kitchen shelf” (5-6). In numerous poems different readers vista a variety of ways to interpret what poems actually mean. This is very much true in Theodore Roethke’s poem “My Papa’s Waltz.” The quote mentioned has caused many misconceptions about what the poem; “My Papa’s Waltz” actually refers to. The two superior interpretations of critics are that Roethke’s poem describes abuse or a dance. The abuse seems much more apparent in “My Papa’s Waltz” because of the language that Roethke uses. The dance is interpreted because the boy is innocent and knows nothing else therefore the abuse seems normal. The drunkenness of his Papa, the mother’s ignorance, and the way the child describes his abuse are very clear interpretations of mistreatment in Theodore Roethke’s poem “My Papa’s Waltz.”

In the opening of the poem the young boy lets the audience know how he remembers his Papa. He remembers him by “The whiskey on your breath / could make a small boy dizzy” (1-2). The first declara…

Comparing the Dance of Life in My Papa’s Waltz and Saturday Night Fever

Parallels of The Dance of Life in My Papa’s Waltz and Saturday Night Fever

Throughout the ages, dance has played an important role in society. It symbolizes tradition, family, bonding, and entertainment. In almost every decade of the twentieth century, a different style of dance prevailed. In the 1970s, John Travolta brought disco dancing into the spotlight with his portrayal of Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. Through his depiction of this character, John Travolta shows the monumental effects of dancing. Literature can also artfully explore the effect of dance on people. Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” dramatizes a special and positive moment in a boy’s life. The author’s word choice reflects the significance of this moment of bonding between a father and his son. Some critics have seen this boy’s memories as a recollection of a time of abuse. This poem does not reflect an instance of abuse, but rather a dance of life.

In Saturday Night Fever, Tony and his friends often drink before and after they dance. It is a part of their routine, but it does not aff…

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