Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden

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Duty is a word defined in several ways by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It is used to denote “a moral or legal obligation; the service required under specified conditions; and obligatory tasks, service, or functions that arise from one’s position”. It is a word used to speak of the performance of obligations to others in some fashion. In the poems, “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden; “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen; and “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning, duty to family, to a nation, and to ancestors will be discussed and its effects on the characters in the poems. In the poem “Those Winter Sundays”, Robert Hayden begins his remembrance of his father on a winter Sunday, a day of rest for most working class peoples in the era this poem was written. In the first stanza, he shows his father, even on his day of rest getting up out of a warm bed, to put his clothes on “in the blueblack cold”. The man is getting up early so he can get the house warm for his family before they start to stir for the day. Mr. Hayden helps the reader to see his father: a man who labors with his hands out in the cold through the week, “cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather” to provide for his family. The man can be seen quietly moving about the house, banking the fire as he prepares for the day with nary a grumble. As a parent, duty calls at all hours of the day and night. Tasks are completed “behind the scenes” such as making a warm fire or going off to a day of hard work where hands are “cracked” and “ache with labor in the weekday weather”. Bringing home a paycheck and providing food and shelter are all duties parents complete each day, yet are not particularly noticed by their children until there is a problem. M... ... middle of paper ... ...es with a price and it is truly a service to others. Works Cited “duty.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Merriam-Webster Online, 29 October 2008 http://www.meriam-webster.com/dictionary/duty Hayden, Robert. “Those Winter Sundays”. 1966. Literature. Reading Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 6th Ed. Avenue of the Americas, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 764. Owen, Wilfred. “Dulce et Decorum Est”. 1963. Literature. Reading Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 6th Ed. Avenue of the Americas, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 1166. Browning, Robert. “My Last Duchess”. 1842. Literature. Reading Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 6th Ed. Avenue of the Americas, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 781, 782. Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. 1st ED. 10 East 53rd Street, New York: Harper-Collins, 2003. 91.
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