How does the title of the poem contribute to the poem's mood and effectiveness?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"My Papa's Waltz" was written in 1942. Being a sort of tribute or celebration of the end of the work day for a dad, it is almost a fearful moment for the child narrating the poem. In that regard, it has two moods: one of joyful accomplishment and celebration of the day, and the other of an anticipated and almost feared event a child awaits. I find the poem to be extremely effective at helping my students consider a different era's relationships in the family. Today, most kids jump to abuse when reading the poem, but that was a different society then. The title portrays both the mood and the effectiveness because the title isn't about the kid. Today, we are all about the kids. This is a ritual that the father used to relax and try to spend some time with his kid. The fact that it's a waltz suggests extreme difficulty and almost violence with the references to the clanging pots and pans. Because a waltz wouldn't have been an attractive dance for a child either, I think this title creates a reference to the reverence the child has for his father. It is a good thing to respect parents. Sometimes today, these moments are rare and it makes this a good piece to study.

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My Papa's Waltz

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