Identifying and Interpreting Devices of Sound: an Analysis of "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden

Topics: Poetry, Russian phonology, Vowel Pages: 3 (1117 words) Published: April 30, 2013
As the title states, this poem is about Robert Hayden remembering “Those Winter Sundays.” The primary focus of this poem is the relationship between father and son. In particular, the way his father communicates his love through actions instead of words. Specifically, his father built early morning fires that drove out the cold and polished his good church shoes. In “Those Winter Sundays”, Robert Hayden uses strong imagery and sound to describe his father, and how he grew from lacking respect for his father to admiring him. The first stanza is saturated with strong imagery and diction that vividly describes his father, the winter weather, and a fierce fire. From the first line of this poem the subject matter is evident, Hayden’s father.  His hard working nature becomes clear is he wakes up early “Sundays too,” which is supposed to be a day of rest. The harsh imagery of “blueblack cold” depicts the dark sky and how truly early his father rises. To further emphasize his father’s strength, Hayden describes his hands using sensory imagery like “cracked” and “ached” and blames this on his work in the “weekday weather.”  The last line of this stanza is very important to Hayden and really indicates the theme of this poem.  “Banked fires blaze” evokes strong imagery and the use of this phrase suggests his father is mainly responsible for making the fire and ultimately heating the house. Hayden ends this stanza saying “No one ever thanked him.” This sentence is important in understanding the themes of unconditional love, regret, and admiration throughout this poem. The sonic devices of the first stanza support my interpretation of Hayden’s poem and the sound contributes to my reasoning. The overall tone of this first stanza starts with sympathy and regret, closing with a final hint of anger (with himself). Hayden initially uses alliteration, such as “blueblack” and “weekday weather” to describe the cold harsh conditions his father is constantly subjected to.  When...
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