Language Exposed In Robert Hayden's Those Winter Sundays

It has often been repeated that with time comes grace. This maxim does well to describe the reflections found in “Those Winter Sundays” by the author, Robert Hayden. In a recollection, assumedly decades later, Hayden speaks of his father’s morning activity on a winter Sunday. In a wistful, ashamed tone, he recalls his father waking up before dawn, and chopping wood to warm the house. He makes sure the rooms are warmed, and polishes his son’s shoes for him. Concerning these labors of love, the son shows indifference upon waking up. In fact, the language used by the author implies a cold, distant relationship between the father and son. The tone relayed by the narrator throughout the poem is one of regret and shame for not realizing these sacrificial duties of the father. In “Those Winter Sundays,” Robert Hayden uses a mixture of clever language, imagery, and sound repetition to craft a poem perfectly expressing the inevitable regret of realizing the sacrifices of one’s parents and a failure to recognize them …show more content…
Through use of harsh repetition of consonant sounds such as ‘b’, ‘k’, and ‘z’ set the harsh tone for the first stanza. “then with cracked hands that ached” is an example of the use of such sounds, as well as a presentation of the imagery employed throughout the poem. (Hayden 1) A phrase found in the second line, “… in the blueblack cold”, employs the same imagery and use of consonant sounds to emphasize the chill and discomfort of waking in the pre-dawn gloom. (Hayden 1) Immediately, the reader is meant to sympathize with and admire the father. They are then subjected to the shock of that stanza’s last sentence, “No one ever thanked him.” (Hayden 1) The poem begins as a poignant account of a father’s care for his family, but with that line – which abruptly stops the rhythm of the poem, drawing greater attention to it – the tone changes to one of

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