January 21, 2015
Frank O’Hara’s “Ave Maria” Analysis
In Frank O’Hara’s poem “Ava Maria,” O’Hara presents a unique view of how “Mothers of America” should allow their children to not only be able to go to the movies, but be able to search the world on their own and develop their own life. It seems as if O’Hara breaks his poem into an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction consists of getting the attention of mothers and demanding them to let their kids go to the movies. The body consists of several different reasons why “they”, the kids, should be allowed to go to the movies and the effect it will have on them. The conclusion gives a warning to mothers that if they don’t let their children go to the movies, they will “grow old and blind in front of a TV set” and regret the life they could’ve lived. Throughout the poem, O’Hara overexpresses the word “they” by using it eight times throughout the poem and making a “theoretical” list for them to follow. First, O’Hara forms a list that gives mothers and idea of what their children would appreciate if they let them go to the movies. Everything between them not hating their mothers to being grateful for their “first sexual experience” is included in the list. Depending on how the mothers react to the thought of giving their children freedom, they could stay on the positive side of the list’s spectrum or the negative side if the do not listen to O’Hara’s points. Along with the enjambment style that O’Hara uses throughout the poem, the indented lines allow for the list to be split into thoughts making the readers pause between points. The absence of punctuation speeds up the readers pace, but because the lines are so choppy, it makes it hard to actually read fast, which is no doubt a reaction theat O’Hara wanted to happen. By creating this theoretical list in the mothers’ minds, it emphasizes all of the terrible and imminent dangers that will come if a mom is not to let their child “go to the movies”.