Comparing Poems 'Ex-Basketball Player And Those Winter Sundays'

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A Different Language The language of poetry is not the same language that is written in novels or short stories; it is a language where even the smallest word choice can change the piece entirely—and that is the point. Rather than just simply stating a laundry list of blatant descriptions, the poet may “sneak in” tiny words to create a picture of the central character instead. John Updike’s poem, “Ex- Basketball Player” and Robert Hayden’s poem, “Those Winter Sundays” are both prime examples of how subtle, yet powerful word choices can be just as effective, if not more effective, that explicitly telling us who these characters are and/or how they feel. In his poem, “Ex basketball Player”, Updike doesn’t dive right into a vivid description of his main character, but instead uses certain words for the reader to use in order to infer characteristics about an ex-basketball player who sells gas because he never lived up to his potential after graduating high school. Likewise, Hayden doesn’t key us into physical attributes…show more content…
The poem begins: “Sundays too my father got up early” (Hayden Line 1) and the word “too” draws the eye straight away. “Too” is only a three letter, one syllable word, but its meaning is loaded in this poem, as it expresses the father’s hardworking nature. Not only does the father get up on early every day, he gets up early on Sundays as well, which is considered by many to be the “day of rest.” Regardless of Sunday being the “day of rest”, here we have the father getting up early to warm the house, prepare for his workday, and to polish the speaker/children’s shoes. The father never gets a break from his duties and even on Sunday, while everyone else may be resting, he is not. It is remarkable how much the simple word “too” encompasses the father’s

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