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Subject Those Winter Sundays
Posted by Debra Miyai
Posted on Thu Nov 5 17:06:37 1998
From IP c550-15.svdcc.fju.edu.tw  

I am going to explode. How can my journal just disappear in front of me? Anyway, I am going to type
again.
I wonder how many adults have thanked their parents when they were still young? I wonder how many
children know that their parents really love them? I wonder how many of us receive love for granted instead
of appreciating it? I have heard a lot of thing about the sad feeling described in this poem. Everything in
our lives is a repetition. We always mourn for loss of opportunity to return our love to the other person, but
the problem is that we usually realize that we are loved when the person is already gone.
Like what is expressed in "Those Winter Sundays," we can obviously sense at least the tone of regret
when he repeats "What did I know,"(13) at the end. We have to know that there are different attitudes
throughout the poem caused by the changes of point of view. In the first and second stanza, the speaker
is looking back to his childhood memories and feelings he had toward his father from a boy's point of view.
However, in the third stanza, he expresses his feeling he has now toward him as an adult.
In the first stanza, there is a description about what his father did every morning. He wakes up early so that
he could raise fire to warm the house. Sunday is just another day that he repeats this routine. By reading
the words used in this poem, we picture a father who works very hard day after day even if he already has
"craked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather."(3,4) He seems to work alone, is it because
there is no mother who can share his chore? He shows his love by action, by providing a comfprtable house
to the boy. However, when he says,"No one ever thanked him," the hard-working image of his father is
suddenly stopped. It leads me to think that he doesn't care much about or misunderstand his father's love.
The loneliness is emphasized several times by the repetition of the word, cold.
"No one ever thanked him," can be interpreted in both the psychological and sociological perspectives.
In the psychological perspective, other than the sense of distance and seriousness provided by his father's
aciton, maybe the boy blames him for his absence of mother figure??? In sociological perspective, we
know that at that time, African-Americans were looked down or not respected enough. This sentence serves as
the kind of image that black people recieved in the society. Although the speaker is his son, ironically
he can be seen as an accomplice of this bias in a way.
In the second stanza, his father wakes him up when the house is warmer, but he seems to take his love
for granted when "slowly I would rise and dress." (8) How nice it would be if someone treats me in the same
way. Instead of feeling protected or safe, the little boy wakes up only because "fearing the chronic angers
of that house"!(9) Noticed how he uses "that" to express his house. I think he is afraid of his father
because there is no communication between two of them. His father always works silently probably he
feels that actions speak louder than words. Indeed, later on his father's actions have a big impact upon
him, but he is too late to notice. For the little boy, he is not mature enough to distinguish the unspoken love
conveyed by his father. The small child receives love more vividly and directly by words of affection and the
constant physical contact.
Different from the previous stanza, in third one, the speaker finally realizes that how much his father has
loved him. His father drove out the cold and even polished his good shoes just because he loved him. In
addition to the feeling of regret expressed by the repetition of "What did I know," there is also a sense of
guiltiness. He regrets for not being able to notice the profound love hidden under the surface of austere
and seriousness. By repeating it, maybe he can stop blaming himself or force himself to believe that he
is not that wrong.




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