Literary Essay Example - Mother to Son Poem Analysis

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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A mothers love for her son is unconditional; love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection between two or more acquaintances. In the poem Mother to Son by Langston Hughes an African American poet the poet demonstrates a mothers love and guidance to her son through her own life experiences. The tone of this poem is resilient, hope and encouragement. In the poem mother to son the mother`s objective is to give her son hope and encouragement to progress forward in life and never give up despite the many tribulations of life. According to the poet success is every mothers dream for their child, but in the absence of love, encouragement, and life experiences of a mother it is impossible for a mother to inspire her son to follow his dreams. Therefore, a mother`s experience in life serves as life lessons to her sons and plays a significant role to guide her sons in life to make better life choices.

The metaphor in this poem is about the mothers life and a staircase to show how her life has not been peaches and cream but a life of struggles and obstacles that she overcame through determination. Well, son, Ill tell you: Life for me has not been no crystal stair (1-2). A crystal refers to a piece of a homogeneous solid substance having value; every step you climb will have endless opportunities. Life is hard and has many stumbling blocks, but it is important not to lose focus and keep going to reach one`s destination. The poet argues that a mother life is full of hardships and challenges, such as, Its had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards all torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor Bare (3-7). This depicts a life a mother had to endure to ensure that a son lives a better life.

Perseverance is a major theme and message in the poem Mother to Son by Langston Hughes. In the poem, the mother life is compared to a crystal staircase in which the mother urges the son to persevere since her life also has not been a crystal stair. "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair." This metaphor is a message of perseverance to the son, despite the mother tribulations and inability to have a prosperous life she still manages to persevere even when there is no hope forthcoming.

In conclusion, the poem uses metaphors which compare to the difficult life that the mother has experienced to the possible hardships that the son will experience. The poem message is aimed at encouraging the son to have perseverance and face challenges as they come in life with courage and determination. The mother encourages the son to turn tribulations into elements of strength and despite the challenges the son should not site the challenges as a reason to quit. Through the message of hope to the son with failing dreams, the mother encourages the son to keep on dreaming and hope for a better life.


Work Cited

Hughes, Langston. Mother to Son. Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. 6th ed. Boston: Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2001. 901. Print.


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