Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes - "Mother to Son" All parents, especially mothers, want to see their children be successful in life no matter how big or small their child’s ambitions might be. Mothers are always there for their kids, teaching them and helping them in every way possible. Their unconditional love and adoration for their children is a very special thing, and it is not something that can be recreated very easily. Langston Hughes, however, wrote a poem that was published in 1922 called “Mother to Son” where he is able to embody the entire mother to son bond, hence the title. Hughes writes from the standpoint of a loving mother who has gone through her fair share of hardships in her life, but has never stopped and given up. She instructs her son that he must always stay optimistic despite the adversity that might come his way in life, and that he is not the only one that has to go through these tough situations. One can infer that she is most likely talking about racism, segregation, and public scrutiny. The main theme used throughout “Mother to Son” is an extended metaphor. In the beginning of the poem, the mother says, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” The mother is comparing her life to an endless staircase to which she has been climbing her whole life. Her life has been a constant uphill battle, much like stairs, and she believes life is not something that one can walk through easily. It takes time and effort, sometimes pushing a person to their physical and mental limit. The mother goes on to tell her son to never stop climbing the stairs. In Marijane Suttor’s article she says, “Hughes then goes on to illustrate the staircase of life that the speaker has lived. The speaker’s staircase has splinters and tacks. Both of these would be symbolic of the mother having suffered many hurts. A splinter or a tack will not cause life threatening injury, but they

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