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Compare poems 'Those Winter Sundays' and 'When All the Others'

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Introduction

Both of these poems are about a child's relationship with their parent. Most people will be able to relate to the poems as we have all shared a relationship with a parental figure at some point in our lives. Both of these poems are sonnets. A sonnet is a poem that consists of fourteen lines. Each line is an iambic pentameter, this means there are ten syllables, five of which are stressed and the other five are unstressed. Generally there is a very strict rhyme scheme. There are usually very regular breaks in a sonnet, the most common- and the one used in this case- is after the eighth line. The first eight lines are called the octave; this is where the idea is stated. In both of these poems the octave is a statement about an incident in the relationship. The six lines at the end of a sonnet is called a sestet, which is where the idea is developed. The poets reflect on the events in the sestet. The events in both poems take place in the morning. It is also likely that they both took place on a Sunday. In "When all the others" it states that the others are away a mass, so this could have been a Sunday morning. ...read more.

Middle

The father would call him 'when the rooms were warm', and the writer would only get up when the father did so, and not before. When the poet says 'slowly I would rise and dress' this shows that he would wait as long as he could to get up as he was 'fearing the chronic angers of that house' and had fear in encountering his father. This is the only mention of anger in the poem. The poet writes 'that house' which suggests fear, and it shows that he doesn't feel comfortable enough in the house to refer to it as his own. The poet describes the way he spoke to his father as indifferent, which means he didn't really care. The writer is very dramatic when he uses the metaphor that his father had 'driven out the cold' which exaggerates his father lighting a fire every morning. This compares the cold and dark to warm and light. The father 'polished his shoes as well' which shows he tried to be considerate. The poet uses repetition to emphasise the point, 'what did I know, what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices?' The word 'offices' suggests a job or duties he had to do. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Some were responding' to these prayers 'and some were crying' away from the rest. The poet had a emotional last moment with his parent as he remembers 'her head bent toward my head, her breath in mine.' Whereas in the first poem, the poet wished he had the opportunity to thank his father, but it was too late. Heaney states that they 'were never closer the whole rest of our lives,' which shows that she didn't live long after that. I think that both of the poems are well written, and use a variety of writing techniques, and a wide selection of words and phrases which are perfect for the setting of the mood. With this in mind, I prefer the first poem, "Those Winter Sundays" written by Robert Hayden. I prefer this poem because I can relate to it more. I know what it is like to feel remorseful, like the poet described, and when it is too late to apologise to someone or to talk about an unhappy incident. I like the had words used in this poem such as 'chronic' and 'ache', I think they set the atmosphere of the poem really well. I also find this poem easier to understand and identify with. Caitlin McIntyre 1 4 Lisbreen ...read more.

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