Free Essay with Analysis of Poem "Those Winter Sundays" and Poem "Daddy"

Published: 2022-02-18
Free Essay with Analysis of Poem "Those Winter Sundays" and Poem "Daddy"
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Poem Sylvia Plath
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2045 words
18 min read

Robert Hayden's poem "Those Winter Sundays" and Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy" are both based on memories of the author's relationship with their fathers. The authors are on point in expressing their feelings towards their father's relationship. The authors use metaphors and allegories to pass their message to the reader. The paper is going to analyze the two poems and then compare their relationship with their fathers as portrayed in their stories.

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Analysis of "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden's, Those Winter Sundays, is a poem based on a memory. The poem explains the actions of a father who rises early each Sunday to dutifully polish the son's good shoes and makes fire. At this time, the son is unaware of the sacrifice which his hardworking father endures ensuring he is okay. The author, Robert Hayden, in real life was brought up by foster parents following the breakup of his birth parents. Therefore, the speaker is trying to recapture his childhood. The poem is quite short comprising of only fourteen lines split into three sections. (Hayden, 23). The poem gives us a glimpse of what the speaker's Sunday Mornings was as a child. The poem shows issues that the speaker was not aware of back in the day. The three stanzas are without end rhythm, thus making the poem lack rhythm. The speaker, uses a reflective tone of voice, with the hindsight of making sense of all that happened during those days. Probably over some time, the speaker gains the outlook and the stance of the father (Gallagher, 245).

The central theme of the poem is based on parental duties and sacrifice. The bond between the father and son is powerful, but it takes the child some years and time to acknowledge the obligation. The poem illustrates the compound nature of the relationship between the father and the son neatly. The use of the word father in the poem sounds formal; maybe papa, pop, or dad would perhaps have challenged the understanding. This selfless father discussed in the poem should have deserved better, and this relates to the story of selfless Christ who suffered for the sake of others (Hayden, 27). After working so hard on the weekdays, the father is tied with the responsibility of preparing the son on Sunday morning despite being the only day to rest. The line, "his cracked hands that ached," symbolizes the father as a tough manual worker who works hard to make ends meet. The poem shows the image of a no nonsense father who despite being tired of working hard all week, he is bound to going to church in the only day of rest. On the other hand, we might ask, where is the mother? , why is word home missing in the poem? The mother is absent, and this comes to sense that the son lacks comfort and the rooms only warm when the speaker wakes up. The speaker's narrative shows loneliness and discomfort in their family. "Fearing the chronic waves of the anger of that house, speaking indifferently to him", The word chronic means long term. The speaker in this part indeed views the father as a negative influence, and he also hardhearted to him. This could be because the father was aggressive, thus prompting fear in the house, which in return influences the child. This then complicates the issues of love and the regrets as well as the realities of family relationships.

Analysis of Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy"

Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy" is one of the best-known poem in the literacy world. It has received a lot of different reactions from hundreds of scholars categorizing it as one of the best examples of confessional poetry. For some, the poem is difficult because of its violent imagery and its cruel tone. In the Poem Daddy, the author demonstrates her true feelings towards her late father. The dialogue illustrates numerous instances of a great sense of hatred towards the father. The poem starts by expressing how she feared her father and how he treated her. Throughout the poem, the author can come up with meaningful words to elaborate on the most inexpressible emotions. Despite losing the father, she does not miss him or hope of seeing him again. She rather enjoys the father's death and feels a sense of relief and explains the reasons behind this feeling in the poem. (Freeman, 30). The poem clearly shows the speaker's complicated relationship with her father. The speaker's father dies while she was young before she could reduce him into a mere human being from a larger than life figure. She relates herself to a Jew struggling against Nazi. His father as the Nazi and her as the Jew. He further confesses that "I thought every German was you," and she illustrates how much she hated the German language. This describes how evil her father was. All the same, the author loved her father. She says that every woman adores a Fascist explaining how her father's brutal behavior made him an idol. After the father's death, she tried to commit suicide in an attempt to get back to him. This shows her love for her father despite feeling relieved from his brutality. The suicide symbolizes his effort to put all the pain behind her since she equally loves and hates him. She says "I do I do" clarifying that she got married to a man and she later separated from him thus "killing" both the father and the man. The speaker uses metaphors to illustrate the corrupt relationship between the father and the daughter. Throughout the poem, the father is a "black shoe" in which she "lived like a foot" for years; he is the devil, and she is the victim; He is a vampire who drinks her blood. She sees the father as a vampire draining her blood and driving her to the grave to join him. The poem describes how the father was unreachable while alive, and she could not get a chance to talk to him. She says that her tongue stuck in her jaws to illustrate her lousy relationship with the father. She also uses a banging rhythm in the poem, which relies on a repeated "oo" sound to make it sound painful. The poem sounds like a ritual chant used in exorcism and purification (Zandy, 35)

Comparison of father relationship in Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy" and Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays."

In Robert Hayden's poem, the father is loving and caring, but the child is too young to acknowledge his love. The father, despite working hard during the weekdays, he is not resting on the Sabbath day. He instead portrays his love through waking up early to prepare the son to go for the church. The poem does not show any signs of a complete family because the word Mother is nowhere in the poem. This indicates that the father played the roles of both parents, which is difficult and tiresome. Nevertheless, he continues to work hard and take care of the son without hesitation. The father in this poem is featured as a spiritually upright man because of his focus on Sunday mornings despite being the only day to rest. This shows him as a good father who ensured that despite being the only one to take care of the son, he must ensure that his spiritual life was actively maintained. The speaker views his father as a bad influence to him. This might be as a result of father's aggression and stoniness. Being a child, the speaker starts hating his father without acknowledging his love for him. Robert Hayden, throughout the poem, shows how children misunderstand their parents only to recognize them later in their lives. In reality, this poem teaches children to appreciate their parent's contributions to their wellbeing. The poem can also illustrate parenting, sacrifices, and duties. The selfless father discussed in this poem deserved better appreciation from the family and the son in particular. The speaker acknowledges how he regrets hating his father in his childhood.

On the other hand, in Sylvia Plath's "Daddy," the father-daughter relationship is complicated. The poem portrays the inhumaneness of the father to the extent of comparing him to a vampire. The lousy relationship is evident in the sense that the author feels relieved by the death of the father, and she views death as freedom. The author compares the father to a vampire who drinks her blood. This is different from the selfless father in Roberts's poem. The speaker points out the ruthless nature of her father comparing him with a black shoe that she had to live in the time his father was alive (Narbeshuber, 200). The rocky relationship is also pointed out by the speaker claiming that the death of the father came early before he could have grown up and killed him by herself. This shows how much the daughter hated his father. In this poem, the daughter points out that it was not easy to have a conversation with the father. The poem portrays an image of a furious father who never had time for the daughter (Rietz, 420).The dialogue shows the realities of family relationships between parents and children. A child needs to feel loved and appreciated by his parents. This story remains relevant in the sense that some families experienced similar differences. The story of the daughter shows how traumatizing it is for a child to live with ruthless parents. The story can also be interpreted otherwise to show how the daughter hated men in general. The incidence when the daughter tried to commit suicide can also display a glimpse of the daughter's love for the father. She claimed that she wanted to kill herself to get back to him, therefore, showing a minute of the author's feelings of love towards the father. In Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy," the author is viewed to hate his father from his controlling nature because she could not have time to talk to him intimately as typical daughters do (Platizky, 105).The speaker is grown now, and she wishes that her father was open and free to play and have time with. The poem can also translate to the speaker's feminist nature criticizing the dominating and controlling positions of men in the society, both husbands and fathers. The poem may seem like a hatred story, but in the real sense, the poem is done out of love and hate.

Might be the relationship between the father and the daughter wasn't right, but in the real sense, the poem can depict the author's attitude towards his father which is hostile and unfriendly. Comparing herself to a Jew under the reign of a German father reveals the oppression which the daughter suffered while her father was alive. She explains how she began to talk like a Jew, like the one who was silenced by the German oppressors. She concludes by saying that she felt the oppression that the Jews felt. Comparing her father to God shows how the speaker feared his father. She believes that women, for some reason, fall in love with brutal men like her father. This again shows how the author was a feminist and typically hated the hurting nature of men. However, the two authors love their fathers. Roberts's poem undoubtedly indicates how much he regrets missing the chance to understand his father's love. Plath's narration shows that despite hating her, she desperately wished to meet him and have him in her life.


The two poems base their arguments on the importance of a good family relationship. The speakers bring their memories in their relationship with their fathers. Robert's father seems to be a caring and concerned father who is ready to sacrifice everything the wellbeing of the children. Sylvia's father in Daddy appears to be a ruthless and heartless father who doesn't care about the welfare of the daughter. The use of metaphors and imagery in both poems effectively assists the reader in understanding the memories which the speakers are explaining. The tone of voice in both poems is clear, and it's more comfortable for the reader to understand the theme of the dialogue.

Consequently, the poems explain reality issues on family relationships. Lack of a mother figure in children's life is als...

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