Mother To Son By Langston Hughes English Literature Essay

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Every parent expects to see his or her child succeed in life. This expectancy has led to parents spending time parenting while encouraging their children to follow in their footsteps. This though is achieved through taking risks: by having strong will and conviction to succeed. In `Mother to Son' the author points out the love and concern of a mother to her son. She charges herself with the duty to impart wisdom on her child by referring to her own successes and failures in life. She depicts life as a stairway that need to be climbed through and through. Langston incorporates diction, rhythm and metaphorical language in his lyrical work. In this guide of graphical depictions, the author says that life is hard and is comprised of stumbling blocks. However, these need be overcome by keeping focus ahead without halts of sitting down, turning, catching a break or even landing. Langston Hughes depicts a strong willed mother talking to her son in the poem "Mother to Son". This poem recounts the ideal woman giving her son words of advice regarding life and its challenges that need be overcome. The author applies the `stair-way' metaphor in relation to the life she has lived.

The figurative use by the author is well versed in (Lines1-2). In these lines Hughes says "well, son, I'll tell you: life ain't been no crystal stair." This rich use of metaphor points out words of wisdom from a woman informing her child on the unsystematic encounters in living. But life rather is hard and unclear. However, we always have to soar up for greater heights in life. This comparison bears the intent and theme of this poem. The woman further instructs her son that it has some tacks in it which have splinters and boards that are tattered all over the place on the floor. These words are found in lines (3-6). Langston proceeds to exert highlights of challenges that this mother had gone experienced. He metaphorically curves out the tacks and splinters, picking out torn boards as things and tastes the woman has had to feel. These are places and encounters the woman expects her son to come by. She instills the strong will to overcome in her child when she says in (lines14-17).

The author uses informal language in expressing imagery in supporting the theme. Figures like "tacks" resonates the sharpness and discomfort of obstacles in life. Besides, splinters depict the provocative pain and the difficulties of doing away with pain in ones living. The characteristic metaphor of life that is under comparison shows and symbolizes the hard task in reaching one’s peak in life. On the other hand, the crystal stares provides clarity and perfection about life which the mother clearly shows that she has not been given. In addition the echo tends to add more information about the poem as well as enhancing the theme. This constant repetition provides the reader completely breathless imitating the tiring uphill task of climbing the stairs (Jackson, 2006).

The author is passing a message to the public through this woman of wisdom. In the poem, the mother symbolically portrays the hardships of life that she has overcome. In her strong spirit she held on to hope and the struggled forwards. This is found in (lines18-19) "For I'se still goin', honey/ I'se climbin'" (Langston, 2007).This statements and depiction give life its ascending qualities like that of a staircase. She relates life with the climbing of the stairs which must be achieved through hard work.

The rhythm of the poem lacks rhyme. However it is rich with beat throughout the lines. The poet applied the use of determination in a weary soul in basing his foundation of a stairway that requires climbing of one step at a time. Hughes serves the audience with a lovely scene of a devoted parent speaking to her child. Although the woman is impoverished in education, she disapproves of that as a hindrance to impart good quality and devotion to her son. The woman shows credible parenting by finding time to be with the child. In Hughes book one finds enriched and striking caution for the son to continue in "don't you set down on the steps". This words challenge the youth to take uphill tasks. The mother succeeds this caution with another statement "Cause you finds its kinder hard" In the second last line, she figuratively says "Life for me aint been no crystal stair" (Langston, 2007). The basis of this statement is to give realities of difficulties in life to the son. She also repeats the line that establishes the metaphor: "Life for me ain't" The mother uses her own experience to show her son that despite the difficult and challenges of life, the continued brave struggle made with courage and determination is the only choice that will lead to success (Jackson, 2006).

In conclusion, Hughes' through this moving poem "Mother to Son" empowers the son and the reader with valuable words of wisdom. In this dexterous use of fictional devices such as uncommon language, symbolism, images, repetition, in addition to the wise use of format, the author achieves to bring together the image of a mother lovingly, wisely talking to her son about life.