A Happy Waltz

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"We romped until the pans/ Slid from the kitchen shelf;/ My mother's countenance/ Could not unfrown itself." (Roethke 13)


There has been much debate over whether this poem portrays a boy enjoying a waltz and some playtime with his father or if the poem depicts an abusive situation. While some of the words do have a negative connotation, I think that overall the poem has a positive theme. I think this because the father being described here would be a physical laborer so he would be a little bit more rough around the edges and therefore possibly not as tender with his child. Just because his actions are rough though does not make him abusive; it is just in his nature to act in this manner. I think the words "romp" and "waltz" are specific keys in identifying the positive theme of this poem. They both have very light-hearted ideas behind them. I do like how Roethke has written this poem though that it could really go either way. I think it makes it a more personal experience for each reader to interpret the poem as he or she understands it.


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