Those Winter Sundays Imagery

Robert Hayden’s poem “Those Winter Sundays” talks about a father and son relationship during the early 1900s. It is told from a third person point of view, but it focuses on the son as he thinks about his relationship with his father. The poem takes place in winter because that’s when they used to see each other, and they didn’t like each other very much.

Those Winter Sundays poem by Robert Hayden is a poem with great imagery. The poem contains various types of figurative language to help the reader understand the meaning of the poem, which depicts loss and grief. There are many ways one could describe this poem, but for now it will be described as a poem that uses imagery , rather than figurative language . This is because throughout the poem there are about three sentences out of five that contain some sort of figurative language.

The poem Those Winter Sundays opens up with “Sundays too my father got up early. (1), which helps establish where in time this all takes place. It lets readers know that the speaker’s father is alive and also that this poem takes place in the winter, which allows readers to create a picture of what’s going on. The poem follows with “He put his clothes on in the semi-dark. “(2). This line helps set the mood and tone for the poem by letting us know about how depressing everything seems to be. It also lets us know that he would wake up early every morning during winter so we can see where this poem fits into an everyday schedule.

The next paragraph goes on describing how bleak things seem by saying “Every Sunday as regular as clockwork”(5), to describe just how often this happens and then continues with “he quietly disappear d”(6) to show that there was no warning or fanfare involved. The poem then changes a bit and starts to depict more of the father’s emotions at this point using “As regular as Sunday itself”(7). Readers can see that he probably treated it as a regular day because there was no formal goodbye, but some people would still make breakfast for their spouse before they left.

Fitzpatrick uses imagery to show how dreary life is during winter by saying “… the house as cold as heaven”(10), which makes readers feel the isolation of the characters in the poem. This can also be seen when Hayden says “And down the ravine behind the house” (11) because winter often feels cold even if you’re not outside. Throughout this poem Robert Hayden uses figurative language to help paint a picture of how drab and depressing everything is. There are also many other types of figurative language in this poem, but for now it will be described as only using imagery.  

The poem starts out with the speaker, who is presumably Robert Hayden, giving background information about how he would spend his winter Sundays every year. “Sundays too my father got up early/ and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold.” The poem speaks of two different types of Sundays: the time before church and the time after church. Before church, Robert or Bob (the speaker) would usually sit around by himself for about an hour because his father was just waking up. His dad wouldn’t say anything to him until he went to get ready for church to which Bob would reply back with something like, “I’m not going.”

The poem continues talking about how they both disliked Sunday mornings because it meant they would not see each other until the next Sunday. When Robert’s father got ready for church, he would tell Bob to put on his shoes and be respectful to everyone there. It was important to go because it gave them a chance to get away from their two-person home for at least an hour, but also because it’s what they were expected to do as Christians.

After church, Robert told his family all about what happened during the service including if someone fell asleep or anything funny that took place so anyone who wasn’t present wouldn’t feel out of the loop. Once the whole thing was over with, Robert could keep talking about church ,but only if no one else wanted to talk about something different yet.

This poem is really all about Robert not his father because he is the only one who speaks. Bob did every Sunday of his life until he became a man, and then he had to get up early on Sundays too. All of this poem happens before any of it is even explained in detail because the poem’s title already implies what it will be about.

The poem “Those Winter Sundays” talks about how Robert Hayden felt when he was around his father during the winter time when they didn’t like each other very much. The poem starts out with teaching you that Robert and his dad used to hate Sundays starting from when Robert was just a boy until later in life when they both hated them equally. Then it goes into talking about their relationship and how they were toward each other on Sunday mornings. The poem basically says that Robert and his dad were always having a rough relationship from things from the past, but they had to deal with it regardless because it’s what a father and son should do.

Robert Hayden talks about Sundays in “Those Winter Sundays” as being a day worse than any other day of the week. If someone didn’t have to get up early for church, they could sleep late and not be tired during the rest of their weekend. Once you’ve gotten up though, you can’t go back to bed so all you’re left with is another day that has passed just like every other one before it.

Bob doesn’t say much about how he felt being around his father either way whether it was before or after church. He does talk about Sundays being a boring day though, which makes sense because he had to spend it with the one person in the world that he didn’t like very much.

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