Poem Analysis: Robert Hayden's 'Those Winter Sundays'

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James Gollon
Mr. Gehrman
AP Literature and Composition
8 December 2014
Icy Hot Robert Hayden’s, Those Winter Sundays, is what we would call a constantly changing climate. Throughout the poem, Hayden uses the theme of cold and warm to express his feelings about his relationship with his father. When he uses the word “cold,” in his poem, it seems that the emotions he’s feeling with his father are rather “cold” and disheartened. When he uses the word “warm,” in the poem, it seems that the feelings he shared with his father are mended a bit and their relationship seems to be better than it used to be, if his father is still alive. The warmth and the cold are more than just physical feelings in this poem: they describe Hayden’s inner feelings
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“I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking, when the rooms were warm, he’d call and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house.” Again Hayden mentions cold early on in the stanza, however he characterizes it as “splintering, breaking” which means the cold must be going away and he describes how the rooms would then be warm. He would slowly get up and get dressed because he feared “the chronic angers of that house.” The root-word of chronic is chron which means “time.” By putting the word, “chronic” in the same stanza that describes warmth, Hayden gives us a sense of how much time has passed and how the warmth seems to have the opposite effect of the cold. Instead of carelessness, thoughtlessness, heartlessness, and unlovingness, the warmth symbolizes forgiveness, love, and somewhat regret for not showing more gratitude toward his …show more content…
“Speaking indifferently to him who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?” Hayden’s father had driven out the cold, but in a sense, had still raised his adopted son in a “cold” household. Hayden regrets not being more grateful even though his father raised him in such a way. Hayden writes how he was so blind to the knowledge of what love actually is and he compares love to “austere and lonely offices.” The word “offices” has many different meanings, and Hayden uses it to explain how a father has many different ways to love a child, not just providing for them or saying “I love you.” It’s a father’s responsibility to preserve the bond between him and his children, and to never let anything break that bond. By repeating the words “what did I know, what did I know,” Hayden ensures what was previously stated: he feels bad for not showing gratitude to his father, and he feels sort of nostalgic about it, except not

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