The Array of Family Love

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Love is a universal language. It is consistent among all cultures. It breaks down barriers and builds up relationships. Ultimately, it is what keeps families together. Although its preeminence is everywhere, the expression and perception of love varies individually. In the poems “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden and “After Making Love We Hear Footsteps” by Galway Kinnell, the individual families in these literary works experience very different forms of love. Whether it takes the maturity of an adult or the innocence of a young child to see that love is apparent, it is still undeniable the presence and importance that love plays in a family relationship.

In “Those Winter Sundays” Hayden shows fear towards his family. This emotion only escalates because he is unsure of the relationship they share, especially in regards to his father. Throughout his childhood he never understands the ways his father demonstrates love which eventually clouds his thoughts about him. He fears “the chronic angers of that house” and does not have the reassurance of love to fall back on during rough times. Neither one of them is able to express their gratitude towards each other, making it even harder to get through the rough times the family encounters. Hayden illustrates the constant anger and discomfort of his family, making it easier for him to ignore the signs of compassion that his father subtly expresses. His father gets up early everyday, even his day off, to warm the house before he wakes Hayden. The poem concludes as Hayden looks back to his childhood realizing although his father did not outright express his love, his acts and gestures of kindness do. Ultimately, Hayden feels guilt and sadness towards the relationship with his father and blames his ignorance on being young and immature.

Much to the contrary of “Those Winter Sundays” is “When We Make Love We Hear Footsteps.” In this family, affection is blatantly shown. Parental, marital and sexual love are all...
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