The Poem Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

Decent Essays

The poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes expresses a message that society can relate to. The poet does not just write directly about life; he uses extended metaphor; he compares climbing up a staircase to life’s many obstacles. The poet does this so a substantial number of people can understand his definition of life. What is life, an organism that has a pulse? If you agree with this, you are wrong! The poet’s concept of life isn’t a wordy definition that revolves around science, but life comes from your mind and body. This poem uses poetic devices, like extended metaphor, symbolism, and more to reveal the poet’s message- life has obstacles, it may be difficult, but you must work hard. In lines 1 through 7 the speaker, Langston, talks about a mother describing her life to her son by using an extended metaphor. The mother first starts by saying; “Life for me [hasn’t]… been no crystal stair” (2); this means that from her experiences about her life wasn’t clear and didn’t come with an “instructions package.” The poet uses imagery to let the readers have a clear visual of his metaphor about life. The mother delineates that her life is a staircase that belongs to an old building; it has “tacks” (3) and “splinters” (4), which indicates that her life had obstacles that slowed her from reaching success. Success is when you overcome a certain problem and feel a rush of happiness that you were able to do it, and not give up. A symbol that the poet uses is “tacks” to

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