The two stories, Notes of a Native Son and Those Winter Sundays, shows two writers who had slightly similar relationships with their fathers regarding bonds, conflicts, and tensions. Both writers show that they had very weak bonds with their fathers. In the third paragraph of Those Winter Days, the first sentence says, Speaking to him indifferently. This sentence means the writer was showing no emotion while speaking to his father. He further goes ahead and says, What did I know about loves austere and lonely offices? Meaning he was aware of his fathers love for him but because of their weak bonds, he shows no emotion while speaking to him. It is also clear that he does this deliberately because his father has gone through the trouble of polishing his shoes on a cold morning, but he fails to show any gratitude to him.
Comparing Baldwin and Roberts relationship with their father, it is evident Robert had a better relationship with his father. To begin with, Roberts acknowledges his fathers love for him. Secondly, although he fails to show it, he is grateful to his father for his efforts. This can be seen in the first paragraph where he says, No one ever thanked him. A sign that even he was among the group that failed to thank him.
On the other hand, Baldwin says, I had known my father very well, we got on badly. (Baldwin, 410) This means that the writer didnt have a good relationship with his father. There was a weak bond between them. It also shows that the writer was making a deliberate effort not to bond with his father as he bluntly told his mother that he hated his father. The weak bond seems to have been present since he was young. In (Baldwin, 410) he says, I remembered the one time in all our life together, we had really spoken to each other. This shows the writer hardly spoke with his father and when they did it was a very short conversation.
The two writers also feared their fathers. In the third paragraph of Those Winter Sundays, Robert says, I would rise and dress, fearing chronic anger in that house. This single statement shows two situations that were present in the relationship with his father. The first one was the fear of his father and the second was conflicts that arose from his fathers anger. A situation that contributed to him being distant with his father. The same situation is present on page 401, Notes of a Native Son. The writer says, When he took one his children to his knee to play, the child always became fretful and began to cry. This shows that the writer and his siblings feared their father. On top of this their father had temper problems as seen from the statement, . he often brought home on his back in the summertime led to some of his most appalling scenes.
The writers had their way of dealing with the conflicts, tensions, and bonds that existed in the two writers relationship with their father. Robert prefers to deal with these conflicts by hiding his emotions. In the last paragraph, he says that he spoke to his father indifferently. Baldwin, on the other hand, preferred to avoid his father. In page 407 of Notes of a Native Son, Baldwin says, I had told my mother that I do not want to see him because I hated him. This means that Baldwin chose to stay away from his father as a way of dealing with the fear, anger and weak bonds he had with his father. Robert and Baldwins son feared their father's character change despite their previous associations with their fathers when they were still young.
The idea that Baldwin communicates about his fathers relationship with his aunt reveals some vital information about what was going on in the family, Baldwins relationship with his mother and the overall reason why Baldwin always had some misunderstanding during his life. With a critical analysis of the statement my aunt who had always rivaled with my father severally was as a result of my mother shows that his mother might have clashed with his father with reasonable facts that led to a small separation. Also, the above statement outlines that the personal differences that existed between Baldwins mother, father and aunt is the overall cause of the weak bonds that were evident among the son and the father.
Baldwins son outlines his past moments that gives father was proud of him primarily when he was young. For instance, the statement, I remember those days when my father was proud of me and he was grinning with pleasure when solos ended, show that at one-time Baldwins father was human enough and had the value of humanity in his heart but at the moment the social life he is passing through has overturned his aspects of humanity (Baldwin, 1984, p.410). However, Baldwins son still remembers his sweet moments with his father hence making several grounds that show that he wrings and songs about his father during the burial reminds him of the one-time association that he had with his father which will never be realized again.
Baldwin, J. (1984). Notes of a native son. Vol. 39. Beacon Press.
Hayden, R. (1962). Those Winter Sundays. An Introduction to Poetry 13.
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