Compare And Contrast Those Winter Sundays And My Papa's Waltz

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A Father’s Love The poems “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke contain a multitude of different symbols, diction, and figurative language that contribute to the themes of the poems. Although the themes are not identical in the two poems, they contain a basic gist that unites the theme of love and admiration between child and father. The fathers in both poems are extremely similar, described with blue collar, industrial characteristics and a unique way of displaying affection. The theme of love in Hayden’s, “Those Winter Sundays” is similar to the theme of admiration in Roethke’s, “My Papa’s Waltz” in the sense of how a father and child relationship connects through love.
In “My Papa’s Waltz,” the
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Some of the diction used in the text includes the description of the father’s hands. On line 10, the child refers to the knuckle on one of the father’s hands as “battered.” Two lines later, the child references the father’s hand as “a palm caked hard by dirt” (Roethke 791). These references to the father’s hands give the tone of wear and tear or even abuse. A constant hint of violence is mentioned throughout the poem like in the first two lines where the father is presented and immediately drunk which can also be seen as leading to violence. In line 3, a metaphor of death is presented by how the child hung on to the father “like death” which does not give a positive connotation to the way that the father and child’s relationship translates to the reader (Roethke 791). Death is unable to be avoided and therefore inevitable like the manner in which the child clings to the father so that he cannot escape. The roughness and battered nature of the father’s hands also give a violent connotation as well as when the father’s buckle scrapes his child as they dance. The buckle refers to a belt which often times throughout history is shown to be a statement of authority and be used to discipline children especially. The buckle scraping the child could be an analogy to how the father does not try to intentionally hurt his child by harmlessly dancing but in a bigger picture that…show more content…
Along with “My Papa’s Waltz,” the poem uses the hands of the father figure to communicate more. In this poem, the father’s hands are described as “cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday.” The father’s hands reflect a certain level of pain or blue collared spirit which he works through the week and uses his day off on Sundays for the betterment of the family. The “blueblack” cold that is described conveys a scene of darkness, frostbite, or bruises and pain (Hayden 783). The bleakness of the weather translates into something not at rest or not at peace like the bleak and dead December in the “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. The splintering, breaking of the cold reinforces the description of coldness felt within the house before the father warms it with the fire. Hayden also references the indifferent manner in which the speaker talks to the father and how the father seems to go unappreciated because “no one ever thanked him” for getting up early to warm the house (Hayden 783). The chronic angers associated with the house make the reoccurring disease and pain of the feeling of the house significant to the way the child feels when time is spent with the father in the house.
In the conclusion of “Those Winter Sundays,” the now-older child states how he or she never accounted for the responsibilities that comes with a parent loving a child. Love is more of a duty and
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