Where Are You Going and Where Have You Been?
“My Papa’s Waltz” is the remembered perceptions of a child from the perspective of the adult speaker. The poet, Theodore Roethke battled alcoholism at one point in his life, and bi-polar psychiatric problems, termed at that time manic depression, all his life. Although some students debate that this poem may be a memory of child abuse at the hands of an alcoholic father, it is not the child who disproves of the horseplay it is the mother. The father and son leave the room together with the boy clinging on to his father’s shirt.
Once or twice a