How Does Hayden Use Imagery In Those Winter Sundays

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Personal response to Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden My mother sighs as my brother complains about the meal we are eating. “Why must we always eat the same food?” he whines. This scene repeats itself every night and each time my mother grows wearier. My mother is permanently busy. Either she’s at work, or at home washing clothes, cleaning dishes, cleaning the house, doing yard work, fetching groceries, or preparing meals. She refuses all assistance offered. Due to this she is constantly tired. Consequently, when my brother complains about food, or how fast his clothing is washed, my mother yells at him. During these screaming matches between the two of them, my mother often makes remarks she will later regret and my brother does likewise.…show more content…
Sunday mornings the father puts “his clothes on in the blueblack cold” (verse 1, lines 2). The word “blueblack” used to describe the cold is a sight image. The poet describes the icy weather as a visible object. This emphasizes the degree to which it is freezing (it is so bitter everything has turned blue coloured). This cold symbolizes the taciturn atmosphere between the father and son. When the father lights the fires the chill could be heard “splintering and breaking” (verse 2, line 1). This sound image assists Hayden in forming a metaphor for the father attempting to break the tension between him and his child by showing love through his thoughtful actions. Unfortunately, the father’s efforts are in vain, as at this time the ignorance of the child prevents him from understanding the complexities of “love’s austere and lonely offices” (verse 3, line 5). The contrasting images of wintry and warm temperatures aid to underline the theme; the love and relationship between a parent and…show more content…
Firstly, when the poet uses the words “blueblack” (verse 1, line 2) to describe the cold, he is using consonance (repeating the “b” sound twice in the word). The word stand out highlighting the fact that the degree of coldness is important to the poem. In addition, this is an example of synesthesia (using one type of sense to describe another). Temperatures lack a colour, nevertheless Hayden uses colour to describe the cold. This further increases the emphasis on this word. Secondly, alliteration is used in various places throughout the poem. Two instances of this are the repetition of “w”s in “from labor in the weekday weather” (verse 1, line 4) and the repetition of “b”s in “made banked fires blaze” (verse 1, line 5). Both of the alliterations sound abrasive, therefore they accentuate the taciturn atmosphere between the father and son. Furthermore, when Hayden writes “slowly I would rise and dress, / fearing the chronic angers of that house” he is personifying the house. In reality the father is angry, not the house. The feelings between the son and father seem stronger, as they have managed to permeate into the house. In conclusion, Robert Hayden’s use of several literary devices strengthens the message of the poem

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