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Comparative Analysis of My Papa's Waltz and Fiesta 1980

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Parents are among the most important individuals in the lives of young children. From birth, children are learning and depending on mothers and fathers, to protect and care about them. Turning into a parent is generally a welcomed event, however now and again, parents’ lives are laden with issues and uncertainty in regards to their capacity to guarantee their child’s prosperity. Moreover, some parents aren’t made for parenting and in turn, mistreat the child. ‘Fiesta 1980’ by Junot Diaz and ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ by Theodore Roethke are comparative since they both talk about the oppressive connection between a dad and a child. On the other hand, the works contrast on the grounds that in ‘Fiesta 1980’, the dad’s activities make a feeling of detest in the child towards the dad, while in ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ the child still holds some adoration for his dad despite the maltreatment. The story ‘Fiesta 1980’ by Junot Diaz is the story of a man who is having an unsanctioned romance and hauls his children into it. Yunior, the youngest child, seems to be the most influenced by this. He has seen his dad in different events with a Puerto Rican woman and is faced with the conflict of whether to tell his mom about it or remain quiet. He doesn’t want to see his father angry and watch his family fall apart, however, he also doesn’t like what his mom is being put through. His dad is abusing him mentally by placing him in such a powerless circumstance.

The poem ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ by Theodore Roethke is about a drunk father and a son who every night dance to bed. The speaker of this poem is a man recalling his adolescence through the means of a waltz. The waltz in the poem is causing pain to the child, as mentioned in the poem, “my right ear scraped a buckle” (Roethke, line 12). They are dancing roughly due to his father’s intoxication and clumsiness. The son realizes all that is going on but still, he continues has to cling to his father’s shirt, symbolizing a sign hope he has in his father. Furthermore, ‘Fiesta 1980’ and ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ are similar in the relationships between a father and a son. The two works are revolved around traumatizing and abusive events influencing the kids. In ‘Fiesta 1980’ the youngest child Yunior is mentally manhandled by his dad when he is taken to the place of the mistress and forced to sit outside and wait for his dad to complete his filthy activities. As referenced in the story, “The two of them went upstairs and I was too scared of what was happening to poke around. I just sat there ashamed, expecting something big and fiery crash down on our heads” (Diaz). The father is selfish and doesn’t care much for his family. The father emotionally blackmails Yunior. Yunior to not hurt his mom and make his dad angry stays quiet. The child in “My Papa’s waltz is also being abused. When the father and son waltz the boy gets affected by the whiskey on his father’s breath, “The whiskey on your breath/could make a small boy dizzy” (Roethke lines 1-2). Not only is he getting dizzy, but also, later on, he is getting hit with his father’s belt which scrapes his ear.

However, the two stories are different in the results. In ‘Fiesta 1980’ the child winds up having practically zero love for his dad. The dad is a cheater and Yunior can’t stand it. Each time Yunior get in the van he feels like hurling, due to the repugnance he has towards his dad. He can’t hold it in any longer as referenced in the story, ‘Finally I said, Mami, and they both looked back, already knowing what was happening’ (Diaz). The two parents realized what was going to leave Yunior’s mouth. In contrast, the child from ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ still has an affection for his dad even after all the maltreatment. As referenced in the poem, ‘then waltzed me off to bed still clinging to your shirt’ (Roethke 15-16). In spite of all he was put through, he stayed holding his dad until the end. Regardless of how unpleasant the dance was or the number of scratches he got he never lost his affection for him. The story “Fiesta 1980” by Junot Diaz associates with the subject of parent-child relationship since this sort of issue happens regularly today. Many children are set between picking which parent to agree with because the other has done the wrong thing, for example, taking part in extramarital entanglements as Yunior’s father does all through the story. Taking everything into account, the coming of age “Fiesta 1980” and ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ show a parent-child relationship where kids are abused and put in predicaments. This causes clashes in both the child’ emotional well-being and their association with their parents.

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Comparative Analysis Of My Papa’s Waltz And Fiesta 1980. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from
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