“Those Winter Sundays” Explication
In the poem “Those Winter Sundays”, a man concludes that he was once blind to the love his father portrayed; as a young boy he incapable of understanding love is not always exposed as affection. This poem dramatizes the conflict of ability, between father and son, to effectively show and recognize love when specific gender roles are given. Gender roles are something that we are all familiar with, whether we fall into it or not. In this poem, the time setting (sometime in the mid 1900’s) gender roles were still stronger than what we may see today. The father role in this poem seemed very clearly to have the particular male gender role thrust upon him, as well as used that role to show affection. The first stanza begins with a simple line that denotes the tone of the majority of the poem; a cold emotionless feeling, the same feeling as the speaker felt. Beginning the peom with “Sunday” (line 1) adds a religious view. Sundays are regarded as a holy day of worship and rest, yet the speaker’s father awakes early in the “blackblue cold,” (2) giving further imagery to this winter morning. The word “blackblue” (2) gives the harsh bitter cold of the winter, the sun has yet to break the sky; it is the coldest time of day during the coldest time of year. The fact that this father arose early to provide a warm start to the day shows his devotion to his son, as it is not mandatory to let your child ease into the morning with warmth and comfort. The speaker goes on to tell how his father, relentless to his own pains and needs of rest, continues to work “then with cracked hands that ached / from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze” (3-5). This is a man who doesn’t get a rest, but chooses not to on his one day off, because of the love he holds for his son. The second stanza breaks into the sons morning experience, “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking, / When the rooms were warm, he’d call, / and slowly I...
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