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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Final Response To "My Papa's Waltz" By Theodore Rothke

        Before I begin my response I would just
like to re-post the poem again so that you may follow along with what I am
saying.(Or typing...Whatever you prefer but I'm posting it. Ok!)

My Papa's Waltz

The whiskey
on your breath

Could make a small boy dizzy;


I hung on like death:

Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the


Slid from the kitchen shelf;

My mother's


Could not

unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist

Was battered on one


At every step

you missed

My right ear scraped a


You beat time on my head

With a palm caked hard by dirt,



me off to bed

Still clinging to your shirt.

This is my response to the poem "My Papa's Waltz" which was posted
above. When I read this poem I felt that there were many ways to interpret this
poem, for example most people would like to view it as child abuse, I for one
do not. But! This is simply my own personal opinion about it. I have taken it
upon myself do do some research about the poem So that I know where other
people are coming from and how other people view the poem. I also wanted
to know more about the author to see if that could tell me more. Honestly this
poem is extremely intriguing to me because I can't seem to just automatically
figure it out like I do with most poems.

First things first before I come out with research and findings I would just
like to give my point of view on the poem and my observances because its only
fair to do so. The lines that say "The whiskey on your breath could make a
small boy dizzy"; "My right ear scraped a buckle", and "You
beat time on my head with a palm caked hard by dirt, then waltzed me off to bed
still clinging to your shirt," clearly demonstrate where they would get
that inference of child abuse.

        The way that
I see this poem is that the dad had just come home from work because maybe he's
a construction worker. His wife cooked dinner and during dinner he had a few
drinks. After dinner the father went to the kitchen with his son and they
started to waltz the father counting the time of the steps on the child's head
"Dun dun dun-pause-dun dun dun" a classic and common waltz beat.
While the father is moving and their stomping during their waltz they're making
a mess in the Kitchen and the mother who had been working all day to clean the
house and had finally gotten the kitchen perfect was mad because they destroyed
it.  The way that I interpreted this poem was that there was no child
abuse therefore a few lines should not imply child abuse. But all people are
entitled to their opinions and I am not trying to 'brainwash' anyone just
simply stating my own point of view.


         Aside from
that I also wrote a poem response to "My Papa's Waltz". This poem
is  from the Mother's point of view on
their waltz. The poem is called "Their Broken Waltz". The poem is
about how the mother was working hard all day and she cooked dinner. The house
was spotless and everything was in its place. They ate dinner, her husband
being a hard working field worker had a few drinks. The dad then took their son
to the kitchen and started dancing and made a mess.

One thing that I found was really interesting, it was a
website.   :

< >

       The website showed all the voices
and tones for each verse and occasionally a single line alone. I found all of
this interesting because during my search I found it hard to get a straight
answer out of any website. It was hard to find any good research on this poem.
Most websites when I tried to do research on the reason behind the poem only
gave me voices/tones for different parts of the poem.



Their Broken Waltz

Their Waltz...

Their mess.

Pots , pans

Broken plates Spoons, forks, knives

All over MY kitchen floor

They waltz around like idiots

Leaving a messy trail behind them

they're not the ones to clean it up so

they continue thinking no one minds them

Their waltz their mess

they think its funny

they waltz upstairs

leaving me to the


But before they go

I give them a look

They better know that I'm upset

now is not the time to make a

mess the house was clean again and

at its best.

        One thing
that I would like to do is refer back to Kamillah's Blog(class 810)post about
the poem My Papa's Waltz. She wrote, "
When you're a little kid,
life's your personal amusement park; A fairy tale almost. Its full of
rides, face painting, good food and everything you love. When you're a kid, you
love the tricks and secrets of this 'amusement park' called life. Nothing in
life is bad or wrong-when you're a kid at least. But as you mature into a
teen, life's less like an amusement park and begins to lose it's fairy tale
sparkle. The poem 'My Papa's Waltz' by Theodore Rothke is a prime example of
finding fun or childish ways in a dark and not so friendly situation.
" I really liked her choice of
words and her analogy to the poem. Although we don't see eye to eye on where
this poem's interpretation I still love her choice of words. 


           One thing
that I have to say that I've learned about doing a response like this is that
you MUST MUST MUST see all sides of the story. I went out and looked at
different points of view and ripped up the poem this way and that and came to
my own conclusion. Now its your turn so have fun with it!

[Sorry about how posts are coming out working on fixing them... having computer problems.]

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