A Father’s Unfailing Presence
A father can play many roles throughout a child’s life: a caregiver, friend, supporter, coach, protector, provider, companion, and so much more. In many situations, a father takes part in a very active position when it comes to being a positive role model who contributes to the overall well-being of the child. Such is the case for the father in the poem “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden. In this poem, readers are shown the discreet ways in which a father can love his child. On the other hand, there are also many unfortunate situations where the fathers of children are absent, or fail to treat the children with the love and respect that they undoubtedly deserve. In the contrasting poem “Like Riding a Bicycle” by George Bilgere, readers are shown how a son who was mistreated by his drunken father is affected by their past relationship many years later. Although both of these poems have fairly similar themes and literary techniques, they each focus on contradicting situations based on the various roles a father can play in a child’s life.
The poem “Those Winter Sundays” displays a past relationship between a child and his father. Hayden makes use of past tense phrases such as “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking” (6) to show the readers that the child is remembering certain events that took place in the past. Although the child’s father did not openly express his love towards him when he was growing up, the child now feels a great amount of guilt for never thanking his father for all the things he actually did for him and his family. This poem proves that love can come in more than one form, and it is not always a completely obvious act.
The poem “Like Riding a Bicycle” is quite d...
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... overall themes, and the use of flashbacks. Both of the boys in these two poems reminisce on a past experience that they remember with their fathers. With both poems possessing strong sentimental tones, readers are shown how much of an impact a father can have on a child’s life. Clearly the two main characters experience very different past relationships with their fathers, but in the end they both come to realize the importance of having a father figure in their lives and how their experiences have impacted their futures.
Bilgere, George. “Like Riding a Bicycle”. Literature and the Writing Process. Ed.
Elizabeth McMahan et al. 10th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2011. 679-680. Print.
Hayden, Robert. “Those Winter Sundays.” Literature and the Writing Process. Ed.
Elizabeth McMahan et al. 10th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2011. 678. Print.