Analysis of Robert Hayden's poem "Those Winter Sundays"

Essay by robrules2High School, 12th gradeA+, February 2003

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In "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden the story between the speaker and the father embraces the ideas of unseen love and the speaker's regret. The poem is a result of the speaker's reflection on his or her past experiences with his or her father. Hayden shows all the little things the father does, and how the speaker takes it for granted that the father just kind of did those things. Looking back, the speaker has now realized and understands what the father really had gone through for him. The descriptions Hayden uses expresses to the reader both the love of the father and the regret from the speaker's reflection.

Hayden goes into detailed explanations of examples of the father's devoted love. His love isn't shown through hugs and kisses, but through caring little things that bring happiness to the speaker's day. This happiness can be seen by the regret the speaker shows when he says things like, "No one ever thanked him"(5).

The father's devotion is seen in lines 3-5, "with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze"(3-5). It is evident that the father, regardless of his own cares, makes the effort on those winter Sundays to try to make things a little easier for the speaker. Unseen by the speaker, the loving father has gotten up early and brought warmth into their home, and into the speaker's day. Also, in line 12, "and polished my good shoes as well"(12), the feeling once again is presented of this father doing all he can to take care of the speaker, and show his love through his actions.

This unseen love can also be noticed in the speaker's thoughts. This poem is a reflection of his or her regret for not having been...