My Papas Waltz vs. Those Winter Nights Essay

Words: 1549
Pages: 7

Richard Koch
Literature and Culture

Research Paper
My Papa’s Waltz Vs. Those Winter Nights

In “My Papa’s Waltz” by Roethke and “Those Winter Sundays” by Hayden, the two narrators speak about their fathers in a way that shows there were two different sides to their fathers. One side was abusive and strict, while the other side was loving and caring. Each narrator has a different attitude toward their feelings for their fathers. Roethke has a more fun and understanding view of his father, while Hayden has a more cold and uncaring attitude toward his father. Both Hayden and Roethke talk about their father’s character flaws in their poems. Even though there are flaws in their fathers, both the narrators learn to over see
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Because his father drinks every night he is never really his true self. But on the other hand, the “Waltz” to bed may be a reoccurring action before bed for Roethke, because it is a method his father has learned has helped the child to fall asleep much easier. Hayden also has a father who is never there for him. His father works all week, and the times he is at home he doesn’t communicate to his family, and keeps to himself. Both of the narrators show some insight on being abused by their fathers when they were children. In Hayden’s poem a line states, “I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of the house” (p.155). This line hints at the fact that the father had an abusive side to him, and the narrator was a little scared of what might happen each day when he wakes up. In Roethke’s poem, a line states, “The hand that held my wrist was battered on one knuckle” (p. 194). Having a battered knuckle shows signs of physical abuse his father would bring down on him or his mother. His mother would disapprove of the father’s drunken action with his son, which could have led to abuse to the mother over the dispute of how to treat the child. There is also another way to look at the mother’s role in the poem. Roethke displays his mother as having quiet disapproval of what the father is doing every night with her son, but she never intervenes with what is happening. “My mother’s countenance could not unfrown