The Selflessness A Parent Possesses In Those Winter Sundays
“Those Winter Sundays,” is a poem written by Robert Hayden about a father and son. The narrator reflects on his childhood and the love his father showed. He begins with the father’s daily routine. Hayden is displaying that a father’s love goes a long way, and he is willing to do anything it takes to provide for his family. The weather was harsh and yet he would continue to wake up to take care of him with no days off. The son speaks about the lack of praise his father receives regardless of the challenges he faces. Robert Hayden uses imagery, symbolism, and tone to depict all a father will sacrifice for his loved ones.
The father works with “cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather” (Hayden). Imagery is used by showing the hard work the father puts in hence his cracked hands. He most likely works a blue-collar job since they are cracked from labor. Throughout the poem, he uses imagery to show the devotion the father has to care for his son. He makes large sacrifices despite the pain he endures.
Hayden uses symbolism to display a father’s kindness and love he has for his son. Many aspects of the poem contribute to symbolism. He uses examples of the cold, cracked hands, fire, and polished shoes. No matter the circumstances, the father was always at service to his family. The cold weather shows that they don’t have the best relationship while the son is young. The ability to show love is lacking in their relationship. His father would wake up and start a fire to warm the home before anyone was awake, this displayed his selfless love. The son did not appreciate all he did until he grew older.
The tone used in the poem is sadness and regret. “What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices” (Hayden). The narrator has grown older and realized how unaware he was at the love his father possessed. He has regret for not realizing sooner all that he did to ensure a good life for his son. All the pain and hard work to provide the best life he was able to give to him.
In “Those Winter Sundays,” Robert Hayden demonstrates the selflessness a parent possesses. Although he must endure the hard work, rough weather, and lack of appreciation, the father shows love through many acts. “Nevertheless, rather than foregrounding the Sunday customs of traditional religion, Hayden’s poem honors the value of love’s simple, domestic services in our lives” (Johnson).
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