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My Papa's Waltz

My Papa's Waltz

by Theodore Roethke

Power Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle. (lines 11-12)

Just like parents have the power to greatly improve their children's lives, parents' mistakes can really hurt their children. The missteps of his father scraping his ear are a metaphor for how parents can really harm their children, even if it's only by accident.

Quote #5

Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt. (lines 15-16)

This shows the power of the father, and of the son's love for his dad. The father can, of course, mandate sleeping and waking times. And love can keep the son clinging on to his dad even though he might get in trouble for refusing to go to sleep. We think that, this night, the father had to use this waltz to get a restless kid into bed, showing that he uses his power in a kind way.

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