WHICH POEM DO YOU BELIEVE IS MORE OPTIMISTIC?
The two poems by Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays” and “The Whipping” are both poems expressing feelings of sadness brought about by someone. Both of the characters in the poem spoke of being in some agony and sadness. In “Those Winter Sundays,” the character speaks of his experience with his father who seems cold and indifferent to him. In “The Whipping,” the character tells of the experience of being whipped by a woman he knows. But although both poems speak of unpleasant experiences, one could gauge from both the poems that the character understands why the father or the woman did that to them. They understand that each has its reasons for being bitter and vindictive on other people. Perhaps it was their own experiences that made them like that.
Between the two, “Those Winter Sundays” is the more optimistic poem. As one could read from the poem, the character tells that his father would light up a fire to warm the room for both of them and even polish his shoes. And although the character fears the chronic angers of that house, it would seem that the father cares for the boy even if he wasn’t good at showing it. The father would seem indifferent yet in a way he does care for his son and shows them in small ways. In contrast, “The Whipping” is a very visual poem describing the process how the woman would hurt the character in the poem. The woman thinks that only she has goodness while the boy has nothing but wrongs. Clearly, this is no optimistic poem. On a reader’s point of view, there is no hope to speak of in this poem.