The father and son in the poem “My Papas Waltz” by Theodore Roethkehave a complex relationship mixed with fear, joy, and love. The boy says that he”hung on like death” when his father was dancing. This implies a senseof fear between the boy, because he does not quite trust his father to catchhim.

He then describes their dancing as romping, which is typically a joyfulaction which you do with your friends. The boy is obviously having fun. When thefather finally stops dancing he carries his son off to bed.

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The traditionalimage of a father carrying his son to bed at night is one of true affection.Clearly “Papa” and the speaker have a relationship sprinkled withfear, joy, and love.Poetry

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