April 18, 2014
“Those Winter Sundays” VS. “My Papa’s Waltz”
“Those Winter Sundays,” Robert Hayden and “My Papa’s Waltz,” Theodore Roethke describe the emotional and personal relationship between the son and their father. Both narrators seem to be reflecting on a childhood memory of their father. The two poems, “Those Winter Sundays” and “My Papa’s Waltz,” show a father’s love for his family. “Those Winter Sundays” in line 12, Hayden states, “Polished my good shoes as well.” In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” (line 13-14), Roethke speaks, “You beat time on my head, with a palm caked hard by dirt.” The narrators indicate that their fathers were hard working and took care of their family. The two poems are parallel in topic, but differ in theme and voice of the narrator and tone.
“My Papa’s Waltz,” and “Those Winter Sundays,” have different themes of a memory both narrators share about their father. The narrator in “My Papa’s Waltz,” is remembering a joyous childhood memory of a dance he shared with his father. “Could make a small boy dizzy” Theodore Roethke (line 2), tells of the fun he is having with his father. “Then waltzed me off to bed, still clinging to your shirt,” Theodore Roethke, (line 15), meaning that he is savoring his time with his dad and not wanting it to end. The narrator in “Those Winter Sundays” is reflecting back on a regretful memory about not showing appreciation for his father. Robert Hayden states, “No one ever thanked him,” (line 5), implicating that his father’s hard work for the family went unnoticed. The two poems’ themes are diverse, as well as the two narrators’ voices.
The two young boys’ voices in “My Papa’s Waltz,” and “Those Winter Sundays,” tell what hard workers their fathers are, but each one of their memory is emotionally different. The narrator’s voice in “My Papa’s Waltz,” is of a happy time with his father. Line 10 states, “The hand that held my...
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