Those Winter Sundays By Robert Hayden

Decent Essays
Robert Hayden’s 1966 poem entitled “Those Winter Sundays” is a seemingly superficial illustration of a typical Sunday morning in the narrator’s childhood home. The short length of the poem, along with the use of straightforward diction, however, conceals the darker subject matter that the author is trying to convey. The poem describes the narrator’s regret, in hindsight, that he did not recognize or appreciate his father’s love during childhood. Through his strategic use of punctuation, specific diction, and symbolic structure, Robert Hayden, in his poem “Those Winter Sundays,” reflects on a strained and regretfully underappreciated relationship between father and son.
One of the first points to note is that Hayden utilizes punctuation
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He uses the word “blueblack” to describe the color of the sky in the early morning and to draw attention to just how early it was. The line that says “with cracked hands that ached/ from labor in the weekday weather…” (3) implies that the author’s father had an outdoor job involving heavy labor. Lastly, when the author writes, “banked fires blaze,” he is referencing how the father started the fire before everyone else woke up, so that they wouldn’t be cold. All of this language points to the idea that the father in the poem worked very hard for the comfort of the others.
The second stanza, however, enables the reader to empathize with the son, as the author uses language that suggests that there is more to the story than a hard-working father and an unappreciative child. The speaker notes that he ”wakes to hear the cold, splintering breaking” (6). This sounds oddly negative, considering the sacrifice from the father that is described just before. The house is becoming warmer, so it might be assumed that the narrator would be happy. However, he seems to associate the temperature with something negative. The speaker says, “slowly I would rise and dress” (8).On the surface, this description seems to point to the luxury of the son’s situation; he is allowed to get dressed at his leisure while his father is hard at work.
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