This is one of my favorite poems because it leaves room for two very different interpretations, and I think it would be interesting to choose one of those interpretations and then base your thesis statement off that. Let's consider the evidence first.
On one hand, there is evidence that the narrator is reflecting back on an abusive childhood at the hands of an alcoholic father. Those who choose this interpretation will point to the mother's displeasure with the rowdy scene, the smell of whisky that is strong enough to make the narrator "dizzy," and the battered knuckle, indicating that the father has come home from a fight. The tone is thus dark, furthered by word choice such as this:
You beat time on my head
He didn't tap out the rhythm of the music—he beat it. That's a pretty strong and violent sounding word choice.
But not everyone reads the poem this way, and some believe that this is a loving scene of a father and son at the end of a long work day. This poem was written in the late...
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