A Father’s Love for Their Son
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A Father’s Love for their Son
“My Papa’s Waltz”, by Theodore Roethke and “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden both talk about respected fathers but Roethke shows his regrets for not acknowledging his fathers love for him and Hayden shows us a moment he remembered having a good time with his father. These poems are two perspectives of a father’s relationship with his son and show many ways that love is distributed from father to son.
Theodore Roethke and Robert Hayden illustrate their fathers doing their job of being a father in two different ways. In “Those WInter Sundays” Hayden illustrates the father doing his job in a very quiet and tranquil way, not looking to be thanked at all. In line six Hayden says “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering”. The personification of the cold splintering used in this line shows Hayden’s readers how much his dad sacrificed for his son. The son would wake up and hear his dad already going to work chopping wood for a fire he would be making for his family. Another example is in line 13 when Hayden talks about his dad polishing the son’s shoes as well. The father is doing little things that may not mean much to him but the son recognizes that his dad is taking care of him. In the last stanza you can tell that the son does not realize how much his father is actually doing for him. In line 13 Hayden says “What did I know” meaning that the son is unaware of how much his father actually does for him. The father in “My Papa’s Waltz” expresses his love for his son more verbally and is more social about it. The father in this poem is putting his son to bed at night after giving him a fun and exciting evening of dancing in the kitchen. When a parent tucks their child in for bed that is one of the biggest signs that they love their child because it shows how much they care about them. The father in “My Papa’s Waltz” must have treated his son really well because the son did not want to go to bed and was “clinging to your shirt” (Roethke 16), “your” as in his dads. The father in “Those Winter Sundays” and the father in “My Papa’s Waltz” both love their sons greatly, they just show their love in different ways and one is not better than the other.
In “Those Winter Sundays” and “My Papa’s Waltz” the fathers work hard during the week and most likely have jobs that require manual labor, but even though they are tired at the end of the day they still have time for their son. We can tell that the father in “Those Winter Sundays” is a hard worker during the week because of his “cracked hands that ached” (Hayden 3) which shows the readers how tough the father works during the week. Also in line 4 Hayden says that the cause of his cracked hands are from “labor in the weekday”. The father in “My Papa’s Waltz” has a job involving working with dirt which means he works very hard during the week as well. We can tell this because the father’s palms are “caked hard by dirt” (Roethke 14). Both fathers spend their weekdays working hard so when they come home and spend time or do something with their son. It shows how much they care for them. Also the father in “My Papa’s Waltz” had a “whiskey of his breath” (Roethke 1) which implies that he was drinking. I don’t think he was drinking a lot because the amount he consumed was enough to “make a small boy dizzy” (Roethke 2) so it was not a large amount. I think that it was one of those drinks that you have after a long day at work and you just need a little something to help you relax after a tough day at work. In the biography of Robert Hayden it says that Hayden’s adoptive father was a manual laborer. That is an important fact to know because his father passed that trait down to him and he is trying to do the same thing for his son by showing him that hard work will be rewarding in the end. In the biography of Theodore Roethke the readers have a chance to see his earlier childhood. Roethke was sort of abandoned as a child and didn’t have many friends and had a tough time growing up which may be why in his poem the father is so outgoing and loves spending time with his son because it’s the relationship he always wanted to have with his father.
In “Those Winter Sundays” and “My Papa’s Waltz” the fathers both make sacrifices for their sons. The father in “Those Winter Sundays” sacrifices his time to sleep in on a rare day off to make sure his son along with the rest of his family is warm on a cold morning. The sons father got up early “On Sundays too” (Hayden 1). The “too” in this line implies that the father is up early pretty much