"Those Winter Sundays" In Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" a grown person, most likely a man, recounts the winter Sundays of his childhood. He remembers the early morning events that took place and how much the events portrayed his father's love for him. The man realizes that as a child he failed to appreciate the hard work his father did in order to provide him with some basic necessities and some small additional perks at times. The theme of the poem is sad, and lonely. Assuming that the speaker is a man looking back on his childhood, the child was lonely, and possibly even afraid of the father.
The child seemed to associate the father with "the chronic angers of that house". The speaker, who may also be the author, uses images and imagery to help the reader focus on the important parts of the poem. Imagery is a plays a major role in this poem. The images used appeal to almost all the reader's senses with the exception of tastes. Beginning in the first stanza, the reader's senses of touch and sight are appealed to. For instance, when the speaker described the cracked hands that ached", the reader sees an older man with dry, cracked hands.
This can lead the reader to a number of assumptions again of the man being worn out from his job, or possibly having arthritis which would lead to the dry and sore hands. It also appeals to the sense of touch and sight when it describes the father's hands and also when he "puts his clothes on in the blue black cold". The use of alliteration is helpful here in McGahan 2 that it reinforces the coldness and bitterness of the weather outside and inside as well. One could almost feel the "cold" and see the "cracked hands". As the poem continues, the reader gets an idea that the father was probably in the industrial work force and worked with machinery because the speaker uses to word labor and says the fathers cracked hands are a result of the labor done perhaps in a factory working with fire and with no air conditioning. The second stanza appeals almost to a two senses; sound and touch.
The stanza starts with the child waking and hearing "the cold splintering, breaking". The word choice Hayden used in this line helps us not only hear the splintering and breaking of icicles along with strong wind blowing against the house, but also once again reinforces the type of climate the events are taking place in. The speaker is called by his father to get up after the house is warmed. However, the speaker seems almost afraid to get up because of "the chronic fears of that house". Although the speaker did not elaborate any more about this from other parts in the stanza the reader can conclude that the relationship between the father and son was not a copasetic relationship. At the beginning of the third stanza the reader's sense of sound is still in use.
The reader now has a real sense of the mood between the two family members and can almost hear the conversation between the two in which the son is speaking indifferently to the father. Continuing into the second line, the speaker uses the reader's sense of sight one last time to describe more of the fatherly things his father does for him, including polishing his shoes after he has warmed the house on the cold Sunday morning. The stanza ends with the son asking a question, yet telling a question at the same time. He McGahan 3 says he did not know "of love's austere and lonely offices".
Meaning that the son did not understand that although his father was strict and sometimes he felt lonely, his father did love him and he showed this by making sure his son had what he needed and a few extra things along the way, such as shined shoes. Robert Hayden, who seems to be the speaker, used many poetic techniques in his poem, "Those Winter Sundays", however, the majority of his techniques were based on his amazing use of imagery and the way he appealed to the reader's senses. Hayden's poem seems to portray an unstable father and son relationship that the speaker looks back on and realizes his father was not the chronic angers of the house but in fact he loved his son and showed it by fulfilling his duties as a father.