Wait there’s no guidebook to parenting?

“Anybody Have A Map?”, sung by majority of the cast of Broadway production Dear Evan Hansen, is both poetic and unique.  Dear Evan Hansen is about a high school boy with social anxiety disorder who so badly wants to make a connection with his peers and fit in that he fakes a relationship with a deceased classmate to become closer to the boy’s family. This whirlwind production starts with the the song “Anybody Have A Map” to introduce the characters and plot of the play.

Image result for dear evan hansen

“Anybody Have A Map” is a clear example of poetry. Poetry has the ability to make the reader feel something, and this song certainly does. A central theme of the play is the struggle to try and connect with others. Throughout the play, Evan’s mom is struggling with how to connect with him and how to help him find friends. It pains her deeply to see her son so lonely and know that there isn’t much she can do. This pain is shown in the song when Heidi (Evan’s mom) sings:

“Another stellar conversation for the scrapbook

Another stumble as I’m reaching for the right thing to say

I’m kinda coming up empty

Can’t find my way to you”

This stanza is very powerful because it illustrates how helpless Heidi feels and how challenging it is for her to connect with her son. The word choice in this stanza also emphasizes the helpless tone Heidi is conveying. The words, “stumble”, “reaching”, “empty”, and “can’t” create a sense of powerlessness and struggle.

The title itself is poetic. The map that is being referred to in the title is metaphorical for a guidebook to connecting with your kids and being a mother. This metaphor adds a multidimensional layer to the song by making the meaning deeper and more up for interpretation after clues are dropped.

Image result for treasure map

In addition, there is repetition throughout the song of the hyperbolic line:

“I’m flying blind”


No, she is not actually flying blind. What is meant by this is that she is trying her best by guessing. There are no directions for parenting and no guide on how to connect with your child when they feel distant. This line is conveying that parenting has much to do with feeling one’s way through.

“Anybody Have A Map” is a powerful and thought provoking song with many poetic devices, but what makes it poetry is how it makes you feel when reading and listening to it.

One thought on “Wait there’s no guidebook to parenting?

  1. mayap

    I have never seen this production and I am not familiar with the song, but I think that your analysis of it is really good. You clearly have a deep understanding of what is being told and it sounds like a very thought provoking song.

    Like

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