Those Winter Sundays Analysis

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Robert Hayden’s childhood was orthodox by no means at all; in fact, it was an intensely morbid and confusing time for him. For one, Hayden grew up in the slums of Detroit City, and lived in poverty for all of his life up until adolescence (Hayden 146). Along with this, Hayden suffered severely from myopia, also known as near sightedness, which kept him at a physical disadvantage (Hayden 146). While the other kids of his neighborhood would laugh, play, and enjoy themselves, Hayden had no choice but to be left out of the physical activities (Hayden 146). The reader can infer by the information from the biography reference center that the solemnness included in “Those Winter Sundays” could be greatly influenced by the sheltered and introverted …show more content…
Hayden begins the poem by expressing how his foster father would generously warm the house every day, including Sunday, despite his “cracked” and “aching hands” (Howells p288). Hayden’s description of his foster father’s deep scars, forged by deep labor, intensify the painful and dismal tone of the poem. Hayden then reiterates the same dismal tone, saying that “no one ever thanked him” for warming the house, and we cannot help but imagine that one of the reasons for the “chronic angers of the house” is that he never received the thanks he deserved from anyone. We realize that the “chronic angers” between him and his foster father are extremely intricate, and we can visualize the true tension between them through diction like “splintering,” and “breaking,” which Hayden uses to describe the cold, and the way that he would “slowly… rise and dress” (Gallagher p245). The tension between Hayden and his foster father is so intense, as Ann Gallagher says, “the warmth of the fire does not penetrate” it (p245). Hayden then writes of how he speaks indifferently to his foster father, and at this point in the poem, the reader can see both Hayden’s diction, and his tone shift. Hayden is seemingly shameful of the “indifference” that he spoke to his foster father with, especially after considering the love that resides within a gesture as simple as “driving out the cold” (Howells p288-299). David Peck wrote in a journal article about the poem, the shift in the poem is a representation of Hayden’s emotional development from “what he knew then,” to “what he knows, possibly as a father, now” (p1-3). Based off of Hayden’s self-evaluation in the statement “… what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices,” it is quite convincing that he might now realize the “austere and lonely” demands of being a father, (Peck p1-3). The reader notices that Hayden, as a

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