Mother to Son by: Langston Hughes
Cover by: Diego

She is telling her son that, "life is hard and it will not be perfect, but you have to keep moving forward.  This is represented by the textual evidence that states," there will be splinters, broken boards and places with no carpet on the floor."  Those statements support that the mother is saying life will be tough.


1. The characters in the poem are the mother and her son, which she is giving life advice to.

2. The conflict of the poem is that the mother does not want her son to experience how hard life is like she did.

3.The conflict is not really resolved because in the poem is just talking to her son and giving him advice.  The son does not speak in the poem, so the reader does not know if he agrees to the advice or reacts to it.

4. The figures of speech being used are: Imagery for example, "It’s had tacks in it,And splinters,And boards torn up,And places with no carpet on the floor—Bare."

Metaphor:" Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair."  (The mother is comparing her life to a crystal stair without using like or as.

Hyperbole:" I’se been a-climbin’ on,And reachin’ landin’s,And turnin’ corners,And sometimes goin’ in the darkWhere there ain’t been no light. " (These lines are extreme exaggerations of how hard life has been for the mother.

Paraphrase (Summary):

In the poem the mother is having a discussion with her son about how hard life is.  She tells him that there will be ups and downs.  She discusses how hard her life is using different figures of speech to express her hardships.  She encourages her son to never give up, no matter how hard life can be.  The poem is an extended metaphor as the mother compares her life to a crystal staircase.

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