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My Papa's Waltz

My Papa's Waltz


by Theodore Roethke

My Papa's Waltz Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why do you think the mother in this poem is so unhappy? Is she unhappy?
  2. Was the waltz just a trick to get the little boy in bed, or something else?
  3. Was the alcohol on the father's breath actually making his son dizzy?
  4. What do you think this father did for a living? Why was only one of his knuckles battered?
  5. Do you think that, for the boy, this dance was happy, scary, or something in between? Why?
  6. Do you think the father in this poem is abusive to his son? What quotes from the poem can you use as evidence to support your point of view?

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