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Age of Anxiety, Postwar Malaise and Beat Generations

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The Second World War and Its Aftermath /
The Age of Anxiety: Postwar Malaise and the Beat Generation
Part I My Papa’s Waltz
Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” disclosed a crucial circumstance of a son being
maltreated by his own father. The strong element of child abuse was present. The use of these
suggestive words “beat,” “scrape,” “unfrown,” “buckle,” hand that held my wrist,” “battered,”
and caked hard by dirt” simply recounts painful memory of a childhood (p. 308). It could be
this idea that when the father, smelling whiskey, got home he would begin his waltz like routine
of listening to waltz music. In here, Roethke divulged the sensitive issue of parenthood because
filial responsibility and discipline did not constitute any force, “beating and buckling” the kid’s
skin like a crushed drowsy snake to death.
Part II A Memory
The story A Memoryby Eudora Welty recalled the child memory of a young girl who
collected bits of significant memories of herself and the people around her through a frame she
created with her hands. The elaboration of Welty’s character extended to her physical world. The
images captured by her frames such as “the falling leaf,” “the flying bird” and “the inviting
beach” submitted a message that life, as of the moment and as it will happen tomorrow, passes
by. Beautiful memories may come, but time drives them away as another era of experiences will

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occur. Sometimes, people cry out of frustration that during those childhood days they never had
the chance to control and to hold those memories back. It is because everything remains a
memory even if one will put them back again in the frames of hands.
Part III The Wrysons
In the story The Wrysons,” John Cheever made a point that any piece of fiction should
reveal real life’s situation. Just like in the story, his characters namely Irene, Donald, and Dolly
have been far from progress because they only live in simple ways. In fact, “they wanted things
in the suburb of Shady Hill to remain exactly as they were” (p. 318). Cheever introduced Donald
as unimpressive, Irene as unpleasant, and their daughter Dolly as unfortunate. Irene’s dream
about nuclear holocaust that made her kill her unlucky daughter was beyond imagining, and so
does Donald who dreamed of baking Lady Baltimore cakes. Both had strange dream in which if
they would share it might be a sort of disappointment. Cheever tried to reach out his readers that
the Wrysons should change for themselves, their perspective and their appearance perhaps.
However, their decisions dictated them as they were because “the Wrysons were stiff; they were
inflexible…” (p. 318). Like in the opening sentence, they really wanted things to remain the
same.
Work Cited
Cheever, John. The Wrysons. The Second World War and Its Aftermath / The Age of Anxiety:
Postwar Malaise and the Beat Generation, pp. 318 322.
Roethke, Theodore. My Papa’s Waltz. In The Second World War and Its Aftermath / The Age of
Anxiety: Postwar Malaise and the Beat Generation. Hearst Magazines, Inc., 1942, p. 308.
Welty, Eudora. A Memory. In The Second World War and Its Aftermath / The Age of Anxiety:
Postwar Malaise and the Beat Generation. Harcourt, Inc., 1973, pp. 312 - 315.

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