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My Papa's Waltz

My Papa's Waltz


by Theodore Roethke

My Papa's Waltz Theme of Admiration

Even though the son in "My Papa's Waltz" is dizzy, and keeps getting his ear scraped by his dad's belt, he clings to his father. This shows that he really looks up to and loves his father. We bet even mom gets some respect – her son is worried about that persistent frown on her face as the father-son romp makes pans go flying off the kitchen shelves.

Questions About Admiration

  1. What makes the boy want to cling on to his father?
  2. What do you think the boy likes or dislikes about this evening dance?
  3. What is the boy's relationship to his mother?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Even though this dance is a little wild and scary for the boy, he holds on because he's having fun and really loves his father.

The boy's complete adoration of his father is unhealthy because his father is abusive, or at least careless with his son.

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