Symbolism In Those Winter Sundays By Robert Hayden

Improved Essays
Like paint to a canvas and sounds to music, words constructed in order create a beautiful piece of art called poetry that attempts to instill a piece of life in the reader using the word choices and order. In Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden the entire poem seems to be discussing a father who gets up early in the morning to start a fire. The first stanza discusses the specifics of the father’s labor. The second and third stanza, however, discuss the son’s reaction and relationship to the father’s work. While this poem does discuss the relationship between the son and his father, hidden within the poem are elements of darkness intertwined with the father’s love. Those Winter Sundays first begins with the child saying, “Sundays too my father …show more content…
His environment is described as “blueblack cold” when he tries to prepare for work (line 2). The conditions of cold that he prepares for and enacts his work in are harsh, and the colors of black and blue add to the imagery of a bruise, symbolizing the environment as harsh enough to make a lasting impression and impact. However, the cold could also symbolize the basic environment that the house starts in. The dad is the only one awake presently in the house, and therefore could mean the dad is cold and is surrounded by emotional coldness. The impact of the work is shown in “cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze” (lines 3-5). The labor the father is involved with and environment he worked in, cracked his hands and caused them to ache adding to his hard work, but the work he was doing created blazing fires that used to be banked. The fire however, alludes to what his work was creating in the home and the fires being previously banked symbolizes that the fires that have raged with heat have been in coldness for some time, agreeing …show more content…
The father gets up early in the morning to create a fire that not only provides physical heat, but spiritual warmth for the home, while stirring up anger and fighting off the coldness present in the house. This anger is a result of the son’s indifference to the father going out of his way to express his love for his son, by even polishing the son’s good shoes. The son only expresses he doesn’t understand how love creates this anger in the father and does not realize he is the cause of the father’s anger. The whole poem surrounds a father’s love for his son that creates darkness because the son is indifferent of the father’s actions of

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    A duty, is a word defined in many ways by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It is commonly used to describe “a moral or legal obligations; the service required under specified conditions; and obligatory tasks, services, or functions that arise from one’s position. It is a word used to speak of the performance of obligations to others in some type of fashion. In Robert Hayden’s, “Those Winter Sundays”, it explains a son’s regret over his inability to honor and truly appreciate his very own father during his upbringing. Throughout the poem, Hayden uses one event to describe the relationship of a father and a son.…

    • 1077 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “Those Winter Sundays” is a story of a hardworking father and his son. The son realizes the love that the father bestowed upon him, but too light, still the lines of the poem depicts the appreciation and admiration that the child The speaker in the poem describes the personality of…

    • 817 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the poem, “Those Winter Sundays”, Robert Hayden plays on various denotations of the word “office” to make clear that love often means taking on duties and responsibilities. The word appears in the last sentence of the poem and it’s ambiguous definition leaves the reader with room to interpret the word with various denotations: “What did I know, what did I know / of love’s austere and lonely offices?” (13-14). This ambiguity therefore holds a great deal of influence over the reading of the poem as whole. The one word expresses the multitude of duties and feelings a father might do and express in regard to his love for his children. Here, the “lonely and austere offices” (14) possessively stem from love.…

    • 1066 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When the father cupped his son 's forehead in his hands, it shows how affectionate he is towards the boy, even when the world they live in is not so lovable. This enforces the reason of their hope and thrive for survival, that the only reason for them to live is each other. The boy was burning with a fever which could mean his death and illness, but then the father took him to the fire, which is equally hot and burning. The difference between the two is that the boys fever represents how the boys life is in danger when the fire represents the hope and life. Therefore, when the father takes the boy near the fire, it represents how much he wants his son to survive even when the possibilities of the boy dying and obvious and highly…

    • 837 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the poem “Those Winter Sundays” (prepositional phrase) by Robert Hayden the son is scared, fearing his father and the strained past that lingers in the house. The bond that the father and son share is the fire the father builds every morning to keep his son warm. The deed goes unnoticed. Robert Hayden used allusions and repetition in his work to express the bond between the father and son through the fights that left damage, but…

    • 1295 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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…

    • 744 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the poem “Those Winter Sundays” by Hayden, a man looks back on his childhood to realize his father showed his love through his actions. The father woke up before the crack of dawn, even on Sunday, Hayden states, “then with cracked hands that ached/ from labor in the weekday made/ banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him,” (Lines 3-5) His body, at least his hands, showed the physical labor of his job taking a toll on him, but still he woke up early to make sure the house was warm for him and his children, yet no one ever showed his appreciation. The speaker is scared of his father’s anger issues, he writes, “fearing the chronic angers of that house,” (Line 9). This helps us understand why the speaker thought his father did not love him…

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the poem Hayden states, “Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueback cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor” (Hayden). In this quote the speaker goes back in the times and talks about his past and explains the imperfect relationship he had with his father. He said that his father used to be a hardworking man who even worked on the weekends to provide for his family. But no one ever cared or thanked him the way he deserved. He said, “he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house” (Hayden).…

    • 982 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The “other forms or suggestions” represent the last stanza, where the reader begins to realize that the poem has more meaning than what is initially seen. It brings the image in the reader’s mind full circle. From seeing a hardworking man warming a house, to a young boy waking up to the warmth, to a grown man reflecting on how he treated his father. The image that is created helps reveal the meaning of the poem, that the speaker is unappreciative of his father because he does not realize that his father’s actions are a display of love. The image that “Those Winter Sundays” creates is more detailed and somber than “Mother to Son.” “Those Winter Sundays” forces the reader to look beyond the “blurred” and “fuzzy” picture that is created and look deeper at the other forms that “emerge from the background.” This makes the reader form a relationship with the father and son of “Those Winter Sundays,” which is why it is more effective than “Mother to…

    • 1982 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the poem “Those Winter Sundays” Robert Hayden talks about his childhood and specifically about his relationship with his father as a child. Hayden’s father is shown to be a hard working man, with “cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather” who woke up early, even on Sundays, to light the fire and warm the house. The poem focuses on how nobody ever thanked him for his efforts, and how now as an older person Hayden truly understands the depth and complexity of parental love. The title itself reveals the purpose of the poem, giving us the impression that it shall focus on ‘those winter Sundays’ of Hayden’s childhood. The poem is fairly short with five lines in the first stanza, four in the second and five again in the last stanza.…

    • 807 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays