Analysis of My PaPa’s Waltz, 270 words

whiskeyThe poem “My PaPa’s Waltz” has been interpreted as having either a dark tone or joyful tone depending on the reader. The words used lead different people to disagree upon the exact tone of this poem. The third line “But I hung on like death” taken literally seems to have a dark tone suggesting that the boy was hanging on for dear life, but another person might perceive this as the boy not wanting to let go of his father because he was having fun. The two prevailing theories of the meaning behind this poem seem to be that the boy was being beaten and the word waltz was used in sort of an ironic way or that they were having fun even though the father was a little bit drunk. Another interesting thing about this poem is that it is hard to tell whether the speaker is an adult looking back on the situation or a child. The use of the word countenance in the seventh line seems to suggest the speaker is an adult. However, in the next line the speaker said unfrown which is a made up word. In any case it seems like the author may have wanted this things to be left open for interpretation, because there are so many contradicting words or words that have a different meaning if not taken literally. The father appears to have been a laborer of some sort because it says his hand was battered on one hand and that his hands were caked with dirt. He could have simply had a few drinks at the bar before coming home to relieve some stress or perhaps he is the town drunk.

An interesting youtube video analyzing this poem


2 Responses to “Analysis of My PaPa’s Waltz, 270 words”

  1. Julie Tran Says:

    You can also put youtube videos directly on your blog, which, in my opinion, just looks cooler.

  2. james Says:


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