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Mother to Son Annotation

  • Date Submitted: 02/11/2014 06:46 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 73.3 
  • Words: 479
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The 1920’s are primarily remembered as the age of jazz music, “new women”, prohibition, huge cars, and business development.   However, many American’s remember the time as an age of dramatic social and political change.   For many, this time brought more conflict than celebration as is referenced in a poem named “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes.

In this poem, Hughes writes through the voice of an older mother, making the comparison of her life as like a staircase.   He writes with the same slang as one might hear in the Southern United States or possible from someone who might not have been through proper education.   By dropping the g’s and using the word “aint”, Hughes does a good job of making the reader feel the realness of the mother’s voice.

It’s interesting that he begins and ends the poem talking about a crystal stair referencing the rich part of lifestyle from that era.   I’ve never seen a crystal staircase, but would think that only someone who was very wealthy could afford such extravagance.

He uses the metaphor of an old staircase, with tacks and splinters to describe the woman’s life.   This seems to point out that the mother’s life has not been without pain and hurt.   Hughes references the hardness of life by his phrase, “Places with no carpet on the floor.”   It is pointed out that she is still climbing and would infer that in our lives, we will always have stairs or obstacles to climb.

It’s interesting that he writes about landings and corners.   Our lives have landings and corners in them as well.   We sometimes reach places in our lives where we can rest which would be like a landing.   Other times, we come to corners where we must veer in another direction and then move forward.   Hughes points out that as on some staircases, there are dark places where the climber may not be able to see well.   But that is no reason to stop.   One must continue to climb and move forward.

After writing about the woman’s life, Hughes focuses the reader’s...


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