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Those Winter Sundays

In Robert HaydenÆs poem Those Winter Sundays, we are told of the Sunday morning ritual of a son and his father from the sonÆs perspective. Through a variety of imagery, we see that the father is hardworking, has sacrificed his life to provide for his familyÆs comfort, and is all too often unappreciated by those for who he sacrifices.

The father in this poem is revealed to us through various images. He is the firs to rise in the freezing cold house on Sunday mornings, a house that is pervaded by ôblueblack coldö (Hayden 1966, 1). The fatherÆs is a man who has worked hard to provide for his family, as despite his ôcracked handsö that ôachedö from his ôlabourö he still rekindles the fire to warm the house for his family (Hayden 1966, 1). Despite these sacrifices, we are told by the speaker, ôNo one ever thanked himö (Hayden 1966, 1).

The speaker wakes and it is so cold that he can hear the cold ôsplinteringö and ôbreakingö (Hayden 1966, 1). The father is caring and considerate enough that he only calls for his children ôwhen the rooms were warmö (Hayden 1966, 1). Despite all of these sacrifices and his silent compassion for his family, the speaker is too young during the time described to appreciate his fatherÆs efforts. Instead he rises, ôspeaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the coldö (Hayden 1966, 1).

Rather than being concerned with the efforts of his father or offering him any help, the speaker worries about polishing his good shoes. The speaker maintains that while he dressed, found himself ôfearing the chronic angers of that house,ö (Hayden 1966, 1). This might mean he feared the freezing cold that pervaded the house. It might also refer to the fact that his father, aching and working since early morning, might have been gruff or mean in demeanor. Despite these connotations from the speakerÆs perspective, the final two lines of the poem demonstrate that th


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Those Winter Sundays. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:35, May 24, 2020, from