Three To's and an Oi Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Three To's and an Oi.
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Language and Meaning

In “Three To's and an Oi,” McHugh explores the inability of language to express the feelings that human beings have at their most vulnerable moments, the moments “when things get bad” and the awareness of death is inevitable. At such moments, she says, the complex language that people, even poets, use to surround themselves is useless. McHugh examines the similarities between the language used in times of crisis and the language used by babies first learning to talk. Both types of language rely more on sounds, “dronings,” than they do on meanings, and both use the simplest, shortest phrases.

That the sounds of words are more important to people under duress than are their meanings implies that the sounds have relevance unto themselves. When they turn their attention away from what words mean, people find that the words still hold some importance to them. In this...

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This section contains 821 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Three To's and an Oi Study Guide
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