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Two Poems About Fathers

In "Those Winter Sundays" Robert Hayden gives a brief, but compelling, portrait of his father. Though the poem is short, it is packed with emotion and evokes strong visual images of a devoted father, getting up in the early winter mornings to light a fire and warm the house before the family has to rise. It shows the love the father had for his family, carrying out an unenviable task on bleak, cold, winter mornings, thinking not of himself, but only of his family and their comforts and needs. It is an utterly unselfish act that he performs, not seeking thanks or rewards for what he has done. No one every thought to thank him for what he did for them. As a boy, Hayden did not understand what sacrifice his father was making, never thought to appreciate it, even when his father, after building the fire and warming the house, polished the boy's shoes. In the words of the last two lines of the poem you can feel how he now has come to regret the way he took these selfless acts of his father for granted, never saw them as acts of love, and never appreciated them as he should have done. He didn't realize that his father did these acts out of love for him.

Carver's "My Father's Life" is a much longer piece in which he gives many rich details of his father's life and the lives of his family members, their trials and tribulations, the family problems, the alcoholism of his father which caused the family to be restless and constantly on the move. Hayden's conveys his thoughts of his father very tersely, but full of emotion: Carver is more expansive, more explanatory and full of detail. From Hayden, we know nothing of his father's life except this selfless act of love he performed each cold, winter Sunday morning. Of Carver's father's life we know quite a depth of information, but told with less feeling and emotion. Although it gives a lot of detail of his father's life and work career, his illness, his alcohol problems, and his men...

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Two Poems About Fathers. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:54, May 28, 2020, from