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Rizza Dulay Introduction to Literature Final Paper Ave Maria The structure of the poem is significant, which describes how it is free flowing and informal yet conversational and deep at the same time, totaling in 3 stanzas. The lines are set up in a way to share a more interesting and conversational advice to the reader. Given that, Line 1 starts from the left margin and Line 2 is spaced towards the right margin, allowing the reader to move directly downward to get an emphasized effect to obtain a deeper understanding. Overall, a free flowing modernize style that creates an inspirational dialogue. O’hara creates a po The poem is titled, “Ave Maria,” a religious classical Italian song that is the “Hail Mary,” a Catholic prayer about the mother of Jesus, who is referred as the “mother of the church,” or the “queen of heaven.” Both funny and interestingly, the title and the first line of the poem,“Mother of America,” make a coincidental reference because it’s religious. A serious mood is expected. Instead, O’Hara created a false alarm, making a light-hearted tone at first. Little does the reader know, the mood drastically transitions into a profound tone, a darker and more meaningful use of words. Lines 3 and 4 stated in the first stanza, “get them out of the house so they won’t know what you’re up to,” demonstrates the dramatic change because it goes from lighthearted humor to more meaningful lines that address an issue to those who are reading. Also, it determine it’s audience are not only focused on the “mothers of America,” but to


a wider range of people because he is about to share an important advice to those who are going to raise children. From line 2, “let your kids go to the movies!” to line 3 and 4 explains O’hara is talking about how kids should not be sheltered because life experiences should be happening- they should be aloud to have life experience by letting them be curious about the “real” world. Furthermore, in lines 5 and 6, O’Hara talks about a child’s soul and how it’s important to get fresh air, meaning those experiences that parents hold back from their child can prevent exposure because in order to nourish a soul and to gain knowledge in the world is by learning it. The “fresh air” symbolizes space because as a parent, they need to give their child room for independent growth and integrity. In line 7, O’Hara correlates a child’s soul to a movie theater experience. He states, “that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images,” the obvious “dark” seating while looking at a movie screen describes the “silvery images.” Lines 8 and 9 states, “and when you grow old as grow old you must. They won’t hate you,” tells the reader to let a kid be and naturally decide what he wants to do because too much authoritarian can ruin independence. Referring to Line 10, “they won’t criticize you they won’t know,” advices overprotected parents to encourage kids from learning from their mistakes, meaning it’s okay if they have bad experiences. This means it’s okay for punishment because later, these kids will understand why they got in trouble and can gain a valuable experience in life. Line 10, transitions back to the “movie” experience, because the “glamorous country,” defines the movie they are in – an ideal life the kids predict. Line 11 and 12, “they first saw on a Saturday afternoon or playing…hookey,” defines examples of what


kids may experience, possibly what could happen as a teenage kid. The word, “hookey,” meaning ditching school shows these kids are no longer in elementary school. There are bigger social pressures involved and experimental stages they will face because whether parents like it or not, it is the reality of life- phases we all have to go through. In the second stanza, the mood transitions into a sexual connotation -an interesting subject among many parents and their kids. Looking at Line 1 and 2, “they may even be grateful to you…. for their first sexual experience,” informs the audience to not be alarmed from O’Hara’s advice for parents because it’s part of life and no matter what. Since it is normal to have a “sexual” experience because overbearing parents resent this type of experience for their child. In Line 3, O’Hara refers back to his example of the movies, he talks about the parent’s cost and that a quarter is “only” a cost. It’s symbolic because a quarter will always be a quarter but will lose value over time but nothing can change the value of an experience, since money can’t replace memories. Line 4, is O’Hara’s prediction of what happens if parents didn’t give their kids permission. Given that, the candy bar and gratuitous bags of popcorn, stated in lines 5 and 6, are items parallel to random experiences in life. Furthermore, a more thrilling and risktaking occurrences can be “tasteful” to a curious child, like a “sweet sensational” feeling when trying something new. O’Hara repeats the word “gratuitous” in next line, although, it is used in a different context, as if leaving the movie theater is done without a cause-the unexpected. Referring to line 8, O’Hara mentions the “pleasant” stranger’s apartment is located in the “Heaven on Earth bldg,”means it is a place of opportunities and explorations because O’Hara tells the reader that possibilities and risk-taking decisions will always be apart of


our life. He describes the stranger’s apartment is located by the Williamsburg Bridge, he distinguish the bridge more than just a structure but a symbolic physical feature that relates to, and can describe one’s life experience as a young adult. For instance, a bridge is always a connection, passage of moving forward to one location to another; it encourages movement and creates a “transitional” change whether it’s a moving vehicle or a relation to life. The separation between Line 11 and 12 in the second stanza, shares how O’Hara is trying to create an element of surprise between “little tykes” and “so happy” because the placement of the words creates a separation to show that mothers can make their children happy if they listen to his advice. In addition, the rest of the lines in the second stanza predict the results of what may happen. While O’Hara continues his “movie” theme as experiences for the young, he creates a casual tone with humor while stating his prediction. Therefore, he talks about how their kids will be “entertained” if they get picked up or not at the movies instead of being at home, or as he describes “..around the yard ..or up in their room.” As a result, if parents choose to not let their kids to go to the movies, they will hate them. He uses the term, “sheer gravy,” in line 15 meaning no restrictions have been made, if parents pick up their kids, specifying opportunities have already happened. In the third stanza, the conversational poem becomes solemn. He advices a warning to strict parents, which he mentions in line 4, “except keeping them from the darker joys” with a response in line 5, “it’s unforgiveable latter,” meaning the kids will not forgive their parent later in life if they do not experience opportunities. O’Hara wants parents to really take up on his advice. Furthermore, he adds a serious comment in line 7,


“and the family will break up,” in order to really grab the reader’s attention because he believes what parent’s strict behavior can cause a great effect on their kids in the future. Similar to nurture versus nature, nurture is important to consider and what is done now can become a big deal in the future. In line 6, 7, and 8 he states, “ and your children grow old and blind in front of a TV set…seeing…movies you wouldn’t let them see when they were young,” means nurture your children now by allowing them to expose themselves to negative or positive experiences; given that, it will benefit them since they will learn from their mistakes. O’Hara correlates it to overprotected parents because most believe negative experiences will do much harm to their innocent children, when really it’s the opposite effect. Referring to his description of television sets and it’s relation to how children will grow old and blind, explains television sets are a far different experience compared to movie theater experiences. Movie theater screens are far larger than television sets, creating a livelier and exciting experience that cannot be played on a television sets because movies in the 1950s were only available in theaters. Thus, O’Hara shifts into a dramatic ending that tells the reader that major consequences will result – A naïve and dependent child. Finishing with a dramatic ending, clarifying the consequences as strict parents can cause an immense amount of effect on their children, cr


Lit Final Paper