Those Winter Sundays

When you first read the poem “Those Winter Sundays” you will quickly find out who the speaker is and what their relation is to the father in the poem. Line 1 says “Sundays too my father got up early” which indicates that the speaker is the child of the father in this work of literature. Robert Hayden uses several different poetic techniques to make his point and have the reader really think about what they are reading.

In “Those Winter Sundays” there are several different alliterations Hayden uses in this poem.

First we need to know that alliteration is the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group. In “Those winter Sundays” there are a few alliterations being used. In line 2, Hayden uses “Blueblack cold” for the time or day and the weather. The father gets up every morning before the sun rises which explains “blueblack” and it describes cold because it’s winter. Also, in line 4 he says “Weekday weather” as another way to show how the father worked all week long and not just Sundays.

In line 5 “Banked fires blaze” is used to give a clue to what his father did on Sundays. After working all week he still got up on Sundays to gather wood for fire – a pile of wood a blaze.

Personification is used by a lot of authors to make the reader understand and feel like they are in the story and can relate to the characters they are reading about. The term “personification” puts to life a word by giving that word personal/humanistic qualities.

In line 6, the speaker uses personification when referencing the sounds he heard while awakening- “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.” Another example of personification in the poem is shown in line 9 where the speaker gives emotion to the house- “fearing the chronic angers of that house”, we all know that a house is an inanimate object, but the speaker mentions it being mad. Using personification also helps the speaker emphasize how old and beat up the house is. The most interesting personifying in the poem is in line 6 where the speaker says “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.” Hayden gives the cold a persona in the sense of what it caused and the effects it had on the father and the house.

This poem paints a very motivational picture in the readers mind. A hard working father who works every day to support his family, but they do not appreciate his hard work and give him no credit. This is where imagery comes into play. Imagery helps paint a mental picture in the readers head to understand more in depth the work of literature. In line 3, the speaker describes his father’s “cracked hands that ached”. Now the speaker already gave you a mental image of the fathers manual labor hands that hurt and are freezing from the cold. Have you ever woken up to the noise of footsteps or the floor making that rubbing sound? In line 6, the speaker is awoken by the “cold splintering, breaking” which was the father getting ready for the start of his day.

The poem is about a father that works, in my opinion to hard for an ungrateful household. The poem is seen through the eyes of the fathers son. He describes the fathers everyday routine, from waking up before dawn, to coming home and not being acknowledged by his family. Main idea is do not take anything for granted, the father works beyond hard for his family and does not get the acknowledgement he deserves, which makes him depressed and turns the poem into a very sad work of literature. The son is the only one that helps him around the house and actually shows him appreciation.