Those Winter Sundays

In “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, the speaker reflected upon his childhood, he recollected what his father did for him; however he did not appreciate it. Later in life, he started to regret those actions. The speaker illustrates imagery to show how much work the father had done in the house. “Sunday too my father got up early” this describes his father had worked all weekdays even on Sunday and never had a rest. On Sunday he gets up early in morning and worked for the family.  “Cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday” pointed out the father was hardworking man, he worked in the cold weather and his hands were “cracked and ached”. That’s sad and very painful. “No one ever thanked him” represented the struggles and the work the father did but no one was ever grateful for it.

In second stanza, the speaker indicated Sunday morning experiences. “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.” The speaker depicts sound of cold wood to create the fire and the conditions his father was working in. “When the rooms were warm, he’d call” the father would call the family when the house is warm. That show how much he loves the family. “Fearing the chronic anger” this line shows the fear and the feelings of other family member who live in the house. It also shows there may be problems in the house that caused the son to fear the father.

The third stanza begins with “speaking indifferently to him” indicates the son did not respect and had no concern for his father. “What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices” symbolizes he was younger by that time and he did not know anything. As he grew up, he regretted the way he treated his father. As an adult he sees the love from his father.

This poem is interesting and it shows emotion. It shows all the work parents do for their children, and the love they have for them. They do not have to say it, but you could see the love from how they work for their children. Do you believe these types of relationship always happen between parents and their younger children? How can you as a reader, relate to this relationship?

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One thought on “Those Winter Sundays

  1. I think it’s important to note that one of the reasons the child seems to be ungrateful for the actions of his father is that their relationship seems to be strained, somewhat hostile. The narrator hints at their relationship when he says “speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold” as if even in this kind gesture their father makes no real concrete difference in the feelings of his child towards him. Often times it is easy for us to ignore the good deeds of those around us are not giving us the unique attention we crave. I think their father was busy trying to financially provide for his children that he didn’t think it was necessary to also look out for their emotional needs as well. Children need affection and attention and without it they can become ungrateful and selfish, they are not mature enough to see the overall picture.

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