An Explication of "Those Winter Sundays".
"Those Winter Sundays," by Robert Hayden talks about a relationship between a father and son. It describes a father who worked until his "cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather" and was never thanked. The cracked hands symbolize the hard work this father was willing to go through for the love of his family. Hayden discusses many reasons for the father not being praised for his hard work. The speaker describes a typical winter Sunday for his father who never had a day off. The speaker's father showed his love for his son by the work he did for him. .
The father awakes early every day of the week to work, and even on Sunday needs to work to keep the house warm. "Sundays too my father got up early- The speaker remembers waking to hear the "cold splintering, breaking." This is an auditory symbol the speaker refers to because he remembers the power his father possessed, being able to "break" the cold, and "drive it out" for the love of his family. The father would then call the rest of the sleeping family to get up. The speaker "would rise and dress fearing the chronic angers of that house." The speaker refers to the harshness his father showed towards him and how he feared waking up to it every morning. It also shows that the father was a callous man who frightened his son, which made it hard for him to realize his father's love for him until he was older. .
The boy speaks indifferently to the father, not being able to look past the stern disposition of his father, despite his father's attempts to "drive out the cold" and polish his good shoes. His father did manual labor throughout the week, and also did a lot of work around the house. The speaker realizes he never showed appreciation towards his father for all he had done. His father got up in the "blue-black cold" to do work for his family. This shows that the father was willing to work with no regards to his own comfort, except when he gets angry with his family.