Essay on Frank O'Hara poem analysis

Submitted By Jhazmin-Calderon
Words: 1390
Pages: 6

“Setting the Boundaries”

Frank O’Hara’s poem, “Ave Maria” is everything but hard to understand. The poem is pretty straightforward, especially with the meaning it tries to convey. The poem’s purpose is to show how the “Mothers of America” (Line 1, pg. 272) are sheltering their kids too much from the outside world. Because of this, their children can’t fully experience life and be humans. Through O’Hara’s use of punctuation, language, and tone, he tries to convey his meaning and convince the audience that children need life experience, and that parents/mothers shouldn’t be so overprotective of them. A major feature of the poem when read aloud is the lack of punctuation. O’Hara’s disuse of punctuation is very strange. A large portion of the poem is lacking commas, periods etc. This becomes very notable to the reader and makes them wonder why the author would do this on purpose. After reading, it becomes obvious that O’Hara’s non-existing punctuation is due to showing his thoughts going from one to another without any “boundaries”. Basically, O’Hara does not want to set boundaries with his lines because he doesn’t want mothers to set boundaries for their children from being free to do what they please. O’Hara also does not want to set a division/ boundary between his

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lines because he doesn’t want to set a division between the relationship of mother and child. The only time O’Hara properly uses punctuation is in the second line, “let your kids go to the movies!” (Line 2, pg. 272), and sixth line,“ that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images” (line 6, pg.272). This makes the reader put more emphasis and attention on these particular lines. On the second line, the use of an exclamation point can be seen as the author commanding or even accusing these mothers he addresses. It carries a rather angry and displeased tone towards them. Showing some annoyance and disappointment of what overprotective mothers are doing to their children in society. The sixth line can be seen as juxtaposition, showing contrast between the “darkness” (Line 6, pg.272) and the “silvery images” (Line 6, pg.272). O’Hara contrasts these two things to show how instead of letting your children experience all the wonders of life, the “silvery images”(Line 6, pg. 272), they are cooped up at home wondering what life holds, making their souls turn dark with hatred. Having them, “hate you”(line 33, pg.272), the mothers. It can become clear to the reader that just like O’Hara’s use/disuse of punctuation throughout the poem he uses to convey his meaning, he does this also by showing it through the use of language. O’Hara uses a very unique and interesting language in “Ave Maria”. Even the title of the poem, “Ave Maria” itself is already something that makes the reader wonder. “Ave Maria” in literal terms means to “Hail Mary”, but what does it really mean? Ave Maria is Jhazmin (3)

a prayer to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. A prayer is technically asking for a request, which is basically what O’Hara is doing, he’s requesting something from these mothers, stop over protecting and let your children experience life. Another way O’Hara uses language would be in the second line of the poem, “Mothers of America/ let your kids go to the movies!”(Line 1-2, pg.272) and the third line, “get them out of the house so they won’t know what you’re up to” (Line 3, pg.272). The reason O’Hara uses the “movies” as a place to where mothers should let their kids go is