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Those Winter Sundays, by Robert Hayden - Essay Example

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The poem, “Those Winter Sundays,” by Robert Hayden, provides a look into a relationship between a father and son. The poem is short, but it is full of metaphors and comparisons between the coldness of winter and the coldness of the human heart…
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Those Winter Sundays, by Robert Hayden
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"Those Winter Sundays, by Robert Hayden"

Download file to see previous pages The poem can be interpreted in many ways. As an example, it could be interpreted as a son who dislikes his father. It could also be seen as a boy who was longing for the love of his father. However it is interpreted, the fact remains that it is a poem about the coldness that lurks between this boy and his father. Hayden uses metaphors in the poem that match the winter cold. The metaphors are implied more than they are spoken. As an example, the father in the poem “got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold” (3). The poem then states about the boy, “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking” (6). When these two sentences are analyzed together, the “blueblack cold” (3) of winter is a possible metaphor for an abusive relationship between father and son. The words “blue black” are often associated with “black and blue” in terms of a bruise or an injury. The “cold splintering, breaking” (6) could be a metaphor that is not only about the weather, but the implication that the relationship between the father and his son is also cold, splintering and breaking. Because the boy states that when he wakes up in the morning, he is “fearing the chronic angers of that house” (9), the reader can assume that the boy is abused in some way. There may not be physical abuse at this time because the father’s hands are “cracked” (3) “from labor in the weekday whether” (4) and it would not be comfortable for him to physically hurt his son but the emotional abuse may have been a part of their everyday life. It appears that there is no mother in this family and the reason that the boy and his father are reacting to each other as they are could have something to do with the mother’s absence. The coldness that they share could be their response to grieving at the loss of the mother. This poem could also be one of the poet’s members. According to C. Ekrem Teymur, Robert Hayden grew up in a Detroit ghetto and he spent is time with his parents, but also with a foster family that lived next door to his family (par. 1). This could have been a reflection of what happened to him in his past. The title of the poem suggests that “those” were the days that he is remembering, and that in the winter time, this was what happened every winter. The entire poem gives the read a sense of coldness. The winter is very cold with the “blueblack cold” “(2), “cold splintering” (6), and “driven out the cold” (11) without replacing it with warmth. There are only two lines that mention some type of warmth: “when the rooms were warm” (7) his father would call him. This was interesting because warmth would seem cozy and not something that would happen in this house. When his father called him out of the warmth the boy was, “fearing the chronic angers” (9) possibly, because the cold was what he was used to both in temperature and inside the house with the unspoken cold. One line of the poem is very difficult to understand. “What did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?” (14). I did not understand this last line and it seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the information. How does this fit into the rest of the poem? According to Peter E. Murphy, the word “office” has to be put into a context of doing service to others. Murphy explains that in Catholicism, “office” means the “daily obligatory prayers” (16) and therefore the passage could mean that love is lonely in this particular space and it is something that must be done, but does not appear here. I am still not sure of what this means. In ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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