1. In the poem “Those Winter Sundays,” by Robert Hayden, what is the son’s feeling towards his father?
Robert Hayden’s poem is written as a monologue by an adult son who recalls his stern and reticent, but loving father, a father whose love he has failed to recognize as a boy, partly because of his youth, and partly because of his lack of understanding of the condition of his father. Now, as an adult, the son understands that his father communicated his love through his actions.
That the father has allowed the son to rise “slowly” indicates that he treats the boy with more tenderness than is specious since he could have made his son rise and help him with the fires as he started them. Further, the poet’s gentle feelings of love are undoubtedly apparent in his having polished the boy’s good shoes for going to church. Indeed, the powerful final lines express the man’s trepidation of what he did not know as a boy and his compunction for his misunderstanding of the palliative conditions of his father’s life. Thus, the refrains of lack of appreciation and retrospection prevail in this poem about an unrecognized love by a father for his son.
2. What are the three main points made in Robert Hayden’s “The Winter Sundays?
In Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sunday,” one main point revolves around both the speakers lack of knowledge as a child and his present knowledge as an adult regarding the invisible sacrifices made by his father. The child speaker failed to recognize what his father did, for him and his family. As an adult, the speaker can look back and recognize the sacrifices made by the father.
Another main pointupraised is pain. The pain the father felt and the emotional pain the speaker feels because he cannot thank his father for his sacrifices both illuminate the main point of the importance of pain. Lastly, the poem draws attention to the intricacies and encounters within a family dynamic. The father would call out to the son, and the son would “speak indifferently” to him. Even though his father had assured the room was warm and the speaker’s shoes were polished, the speaker did not care. This, later in life, the speaker finds perplexing.
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