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Those Winter Sundays - Author's View on Family Relationships

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Author's View on Family Relationships

When it comes to literature, there are many ways that an author may represent a family. There are good, bad, fragile, and even imaginary relationships that the author may portray. One poem called "Those Winter Sundays," by Robert Hayden, has a specific theme about a father's care even without being rewarded with love from his children. It can be assumed about the author that he did not have a close relationship with his father, his father that did all of his actions out of love for his family, and he clearly regretted not having a closer relationship with his father.

After reading the poem, there is a clear father and son relationship established between the author and main character. The author was obviously a child in the poem, and was lacking a healthy and functional relationship with his father. In the poem Hayden says, "Fearing the chronic angers of that house" (9), meaning that the child would wake every morning but was afraid of walking down the stairs and having a conversation or just facing his dad. The word chronic is defined as "continuing a long time or recurring frequently" so the father in the poem has probably had issues with either the child or a spouse and this prevents the child from forming a proper relationship with his father.

The poem also discusses the many things that the father does for the family. Hayden says, "With cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather" (3) as well as, "and polished my good shoes as well" (12). The author is showing that no matter how bland the relationship is in between the father and son, he still does these acts out of love for his family; even if they don't say the words "I love you" it is still implied through these actions. The first line also states, "Sundays too my father go up early" (1) and I think this is another way that the father shows his love because Sundays are known to be a day of rest and this father still gets up and warms the house for the family before he wakes them up in the morning.

Hayden also leads the reader to believe that the author regrets not having a closer relationship with his father. The last stanza says:

"Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love's austere and lonely offices?" (10-14).

The whole poem is a flashback to Hayden's childhood and in the last two lines of the stanza he flashes back to the present. He realizes that the kind of love that he has shown towards his father was "austere," meaning cold and somber, but at

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