"Those Winter Sundays"
Robert Hayden's, "Those Winter Sundays", is a poem of a son's regret over his inability to honor and appreciate his father during the course of his upbringing. It uses one event to describe a father and son's entire relationship. Actually, "Those Winter Sundays" is a poem written for Robert Hayden's father. Although at first the poem does not seem to be a great tribute to his father, Hayden's admiration and love for his father breaks through the lines.
In the poem, Hayden uses many descriptive words to set the scene for his work. His vivid words help me to imagine how hard his father worked and sacrificed for his family. When Hayden writes "cracked hands that ached", he is using the "cracked hands" as a symbol for hard work and a symbol for all the pain and discomfort the man is willing to go through for his family. In the poem, Hayden described sounds that help to bring out the suffering that his father endured over the years, such as, "I awoke and heard the cold splintering, breaking". The father's son was experiencing the fire crackling, and the ice melting off the windows as examples of the pain and suffering his father went through. This choice of symbolism is used to show the power of the father and his life struggles. However, he had the power to "break" the cold and to "drive it out" for the sake of those he cared for.
Just as Hayden used the descriptive words to describe the suffering of his father, the warm house on the winter Sundays served as a symbol in the poem for his father's love as he sought comfort for his family. However, the son did not make this connection until later in his life. The element of self sacrifice is clear in the description of the father's "cracked hands" and how he disregards his own pain to warm and light the home. Young Hayden took it for granted, as the poem continues, "No one ever thanked him", and he would "speak indifferently to him." Hayden appears now to be appreciative of...
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