By: Robert Hayden
In the poem “Those Winter Sundays”, the speaker is reflecting on his childhood and his lack of real emotion towards his father while he was a young child. When the speaker becomes an adult, he regrets not realizing that his father had his own way of affection towards him. In the present, the speaker realizes how hard and desolate it is to show parental love to someone. The poem‘s diction helps paint a vivid picture to the reader about the emotions in this piece.
In the first stanza, the speaker introduces his dad and calls him “father”. Unlike other names such as “dad, daddy, or papa”, this term is less affectionate and more formal, thus showing the insouciance of their relationship. In lines two and three, Hayden uses the words “ached”, “cold”, and “cracked” to describe his father’s pain and harsh life. While reading this, one can assume that the family is of poor economic status because of words such as “labor”, “blue-black” and “weekday weather”. You also can infer that the father has a low-paying job that requires him to work outside with his hands in the bitter cold. The reader also gets the feel that the father is strong because it states that he takes “banked fires” and makes them “blaze” once again. The end of the first stanza states that “no one ever thanked him.” The speaker is probably feeling remorse for not praising his father for his hard work.
The second stanza is committed to the speaker’s feelings and his view of his own life in that time frame. Hayden creates a sense of fear and concern that the boy felt toward his home and father. In the sixth and seventh lines, Hayden uses the words “chilling” and “splintering” to convey to the reader the harshness of the environment that the speaker was in. In turn, the speaker starts to show a softer side of his father by saying that “when it was warm, he’d call”. The word “warm” could symbolize the two’s relationship in life. The father goes out and works...