Tennis Match Essay: Gender Research Paper Sample

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Family, Women, Literature, Children, Poetry, Parents, Role, Poem

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/03/23

In 1926, James Merrill was born in New York City. His father, Charles E. Merrill was an Investment Banker and the owner of Merrill Lynch brokerage firm. Merrill grew up in a wealthy family, and he had a passion for language and was always irritated by politics and governance. During his generation, Merrill was a renowned leading poet. He received praise and tribute because of his unique styles, moral sensibilities and alteration of autobiographical moments into unfathomable and multifaceted meditations. He composed numerous plays and prose but concentrated more on poetry. Merrill was recognized because his themes transformed into a dramatic and personal level, and this made him win numerous awards.
Frank O'Hara was born on 1926 in Maryland but was brought up in Massachusetts. He later joined the Boston's New England Conservatory where he studied piano from 1941 to 1944. He participated in the Second World War where he served in Japan and South Pacific. Subsequent to the War, O'Hara joined the Harvard College, and he majored music while pursuing compositions. He was passionate about visual arts, contemporary music, and poetry. Despite his passionate love for music, he majored in English as he left Harvard College in 1950. His new passion for poetry made him become one of the prominent individuals in the New York School of Poet.
In America, the gender role is distinguished from the woman and a man (, 2015). Traditionally, the man used to be a breadwinner while the women were left home to take care of children and carry out home affairs. In the two poems "Ave Maria" and "The Broken Home" the gender role is clearly defined in the American traditional style. The "Ave Maria" portrays women as the caretaker of their children. Through the role of men is considered in the poem, O'Hara applies sarcasm, opinion and thought to address how the American women can develop an enhanced relationship with their children. Undoubtedly, O'Hara could not address his fellow men because it is clear that parenting in terms of taking care of children is the role of the women. In the poem, the disjointed lines that depict the free form of writing illustrate the connection between the children and their mothers. Therefore, the author perceives mother and their children having a free form relationship, which also prevails in the American history today.
On the other hand, the role of men and the breadwinner is depicted in "The Broken Home," where the man is given the role of business and wives. As suggested by the narrator, "the soul eclipsed by twin black pupils, sex/and business; time was money in those days" (21-22). This implies that the father was focused on business and sex. Nowhere the role of the father to children is mentioned in the poems. Such scenario was only common in the traditional American Society where men delegated their role on children to their wives. However, in the contemporary American history, the gender role is being reversed where women are increasingly becoming the breadwinners and men are taking care of children. Contrary to what is depicted in "The Broken Home" men and women are not assigned to specific roles. Men or women can take either the role of a breadwinner or taking care of the children or both.
In the both poem, mothers are portrayed as more important than fathers are. Children and other people in the society view that the role of women is important than the role of the fathers. This is similar to the American society where women in the society are treated with more respect than the men are. In the "Ave Maria," O'Hara treats women in a special and a serious way through the poem's title "Ave Mara." Ave Maria is a Latin phrase that means Hail Mary, the mother of Jesus. In this case, the writer compares the American Women with the mother of Jesus, illustrating that they are special. The speaker urges the mother to let their children explore in the outside world so that they would not hate them in the end. O'Hara suggests, "Hating you prematurely since you won't have done anything horribly mean yet except keeping them from the darker joys" (28, 29, and 30). This illustrates that because the women are special, someone is concerned about the future relationship with their children and hence giving the advice.
Similarly, in the "The Broken Home," James Merrill portrays mothers as more important that fathers are by the personification of time and earth. He states, "Always that same old story-Father Time and Mather Earth" (40-41). In the poem Merrill indicates "But money was not time" (28). Indicating that not even money could restrict time from elapsing as he was growing old, and he could not use his money to avoid it. Therefore, the "Father Time" is the time that grows old and elapses. On the other hand, "Mother World" illustrated that the world nurtures people as the mothers do. The world is personified by the mother because it plays the motherly role of taking care of its children.
The Broken Home by James Merrill is a series of seven sonnets comprised of multiple imagery and themes, although the sonnets are formal and independent. The title of the poem illustrates the fact that Merrill’s parents broke up. In his autobiography, Merrill depicts that the divorce of his parents may be the reason for the incompleteness of his own childlessness. Contrariwise, “Ave Maria,” by Frank O’Hara poem inspires the domineering mothers to allow their children experience life. The author uses an authoritative tone at the beginning of the poem, “Mothers of America/let your kids go to the movies!” O’Hara offers a series of rationales by expecting the ‘Mothers of America’ to stick to his advice and show the conditional love of children. Ironically, if mothers allowed their children to do what they wanted, the children “won’t hate you.” Lines 13-16 emphasize the authoritative tone as the author asserts, “they may even be grateful to you / for their first sexual experience / that only cost you a quarter / and didn’t upset the peaceful home.”
The major theme in “The Broken Home” is the fragmentation of a marriage. Merrill is regretful that he was brought up in an unbroken family by trying to highlight the reasons behind the breakup of his parents. The poem highlights the situation of marriages in America by illustrating that divorce was acceptable. Merrill’s father failed to take care of the family and allocate life to spend with his child. Lines 15-16 shows how the husband was busy always, “My father, who had flown in World War 1/Might have continued to invest his life.” During the American society in the 1920s, there were conflicting roles between men and women. Men appeared superior to women as they got engaged in sex and business more than their counterparts. Women had been transformed into a mother-turned-corpse, and their voice in the society was underrated. Men had the opportunity to marry more than one woman, but women were expected to stick to one husband and remain loyal. In line 23-24, the poet asserts, “Each thirteenth year he married. When he died/ there were already several chilled wives.”
In Frank O’Hara poem, “Ave Maria” popular and highbrow elements are not put adjacent to as revealed his other stories. Most sections of the poem are based on the popular culture and misses to capture the highbrow element. In this poem, mothers are perceived to have the authority over the lives of their children. Mothers are expected to allow their children to engage in activities that will give them experience in life. In his poem, O’Hara massively applies a relentless sense of humor to depict the role of women in the society. For those who fails to understand his humor, they think that the poem is based on the theme of religion, more precisely, Catholicism. When describing the role of mothers in the society, the poet highlights a hilarious and insightful discussion of in what manner and why moms should give freedom to their children.
Merrill concentrated on the work of art and blamed the divorce of his parents because of his childlessness. At some point, Merrill emerges as a homosexual individual as illustrated in line 5, “room on the floor below.” In his sonnets, Merrill attempts to give answers to the choices he made in his life and claims that the lack of connection with his dad and the complicated relationship with his mum led him in making wrong decisions in life.

References (2015). Gender roles, Information about Gender roles. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from
James Merrill (1926-1995). (n.d.). The Broken Home. Retrieved from
O'Hara, F. (1995). The collected poems of Frank O'Hara. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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