Robert Hayden's Those Winter Sundays

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Jack Akers Instructor: Mary Wallace English 102-01 26 February 2018 Love and guilt: An explication of Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays” In the poem “Those winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, Hayden experiences both the feelings of love and guilt for the way he treated his father while he was growing up. In the poem, Hayden reflects back on the things that his father did for him, not out of necessity but out of love. At the time, Hayden took these things for granted and never fully appreciated the things that his father had done for him until years later when it was too late. This poem is a fourteen-line three-stanza sonnet poem with no particular rhyme scheme or meter. In the first stanza, Hayden reflects on a particular Sunday where…show more content…
This shows that the author takes the things his father does for granted and shows that he simply does not care and he does not realize the sacrifices that his father makes for him. After that, we find that the author’s father also “…polished my good shoes…” (12). This ends up being one more thing that the author takes for granted that his father seems to do for him out of love. Eventually the author finally succumbs to the regret and breaks down when he says “what did I know, what did I know” (13). This shows that after reflection the author realizes that the things that his father did for him were special and out of love, that he never appreciated at the time. The last line of the poem is unique because it ends with a question “of love’s austere and lonely offices?”. The way this can be looked at is “austere” is being sever and strict. The authors father has qualities, which make him seem both sever, and strict such as, waking up early every day including Sunday, and the author fearing that his dad would get angry for taking a long time to wake up and get dressed. These things also take on the part of being “lonely” in the sentence because the author’s father seems to be doing all of these things alone for his family. The word “offices” in this sentence is used to show that the authors father treated these acts as if it was his job or duty to do them. Therefore, in the end the last line of the poem is asking his young self what he knew about
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