Essay on Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

Essay on Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

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Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden tells about a child’s indifferent relationship with his father. The poem explains all of the things the father did for his child without being asked or thanked. It then jumps to the child’s point of view and tells what they say as a child as to what they see now as an adult looking back. The child, who is now grown, shows signs of regret as he looks back at how he treated his father, who sounds to have passed away. Finally, in the final lines the speaker realizes that the father’s relationship was filled with love.
In the beginning two sentences of the poem, the speaker talks about his father getting up early on Sundays too, the word too should be emphasized because it shows that this means the father gets up early every single day, even Sunday. This is odd because Sunday to most people, is the one day a week designated to resting and going to church. The father in the poem does not just wake up early; he wakes up while it is still dark and cold out, before sunrise. In addition, the father dresses in the dark. By doing this, it is assumed that he wishes to allow the others to sleep in and not disturb them.
Then in lines three to five the speaker talks about his father’s hands, which are worn, tired and sore from working. However, the way the hands are described it shows that the father doesn’t just work a simple job but rather a hard physical labor job that makes him earn his paycheck in order to provide for his family. This doesn’t stop the father, he still finds the drive to get out of bed and allow the other members to sleep in while he lights a fire and allows the house to become warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, none of the family members seem to notice that he does this deed for t...


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... to strike fear into the child, while all the love and things that his father did for him only resulted in indifference.
Finally, in lines thirteen and fourteen, it is where we see the remorse and regret as the speaker realizes everything that the father did for him. He realizes that he took it all for granted and not once thanked his father. It is also in these lines that we get the feeling that the father has passed. You can hear the speaker’s distress as the words “what did I know” repeat in the last two lines of the poem. The speaker realizes the amount of time and love and devotion the father put into his family. The speaker talks of not recognizing or understanding love in its form of harsh or disciplined. He didn’t understand his father’s fulfilled duty as a loving and caring parent to support his family, until the role was empty and his father had passed.

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