Unseen Poetry - Those Winter Sundays - 2008 Sample Answer
Section 3 - Unseen Poem
Poem: Those Winter Sundays
- (a) What impression of the father-son relationship do you get from this poem?
(b) Choose a phrase or line from the poem that impressed you. Explain your choice.
- Write a personal response to this poem. Your answer should make close reference to the text.
a) What impression of the father-son relationship do you get from this poem? (10 marks)
From this poem I get the impression that they father-son relationship in this poem is a very detached, cold and sinister one. However, I feel there is also some evidence to suggest that beyond the unemotional appearance, the author feels a sense of respect and appreciation for his father.
There is very vivid imagery to suggest the poet’s detachment from his father as he is “speaking indifferently to him”. The distance between them and the coldness is shown by the author’s questioning of “love’s austere and lonely offices”. The words ‘austere’ and ‘lonely ’, in my opinion reflect the state of the poet himself who has seemingly little to do with his father. There is an element of fear added as the poet fears the “chronic angers” of the house which he wakes up in.
Despite the tense atmosphere however, I feel there are displays of love and affection which are small but still significant. The poet seems to respect and admire his father who has “cracked hands” from work. I got the impression that when the poet acknowledged that “no one ever thanked him” there was a sense of underlying gratefulness to his father. In the same way, his father seemed to express love towards his son through little gestures as he drove “out the cold” and polished his”good shoes as well”. These small acts gave me the impression that while both father and son have a somewhat cold relationship, there is an undercurrent of love and appreciation between them.
b) Choose a phrase or line from the poem that impressed you. Explain your choice. (10)
I was impressed b...