An Explication Of Langston Hughes' "Mother To Son"

1322 words - 5 pages

An Explication of Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son" Langston Hughes once stated in his own words that his whole purpose for writing was, "to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America." In the poem "Mother to Son", he denotes his belief on racism in America. In "Mother to Son", a mother is giving advice to her son about life from her perspective and experiences. She wants her son to keep striving on what he believes and to have a more prosperous life than what she had. Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902. He lived with his grandmother for most of her life but often stayed with his mother in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in poverty and was exposed to racism in his youth. However, he believed that things would change and his culture must press on. By 1929, he was a well know poet during the Harlem Renaissance, the growth of African-American art and literature in Harlem, New York. He promoted the African-American culture and supported the Civil Rights Movement. Hughes used poetry to express himself and has written over sixty poems. One of them being "Mother to Son", which expresses how the blacks must stand tall and believe in a better future. Starting with the title, "Mother to Son", allows the reader to trust that the poem is going to be about a mother and a son. Just by reading the title, the reader may wonder what type of poem this is going to be. It shows a sense of leadership because a son sees his mother as an authoritative figure, someone who he can trust, someone who he has a bond with. Mothers are usually a figure who nurtures and molds their children into the right path. This gives the reader a hint that the poem is a poem were, the mother, in some way or another is molding or guiding the son into the right path. In the very first line, "Well, son, I'll tell you:" gives the reader a good idea in which direction the poem is taking. At this point, the reader can trust that the mother is going to give some kind of advice as mothers frequently do. As the reader moves on to the second line, "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair," Langston creates imagery for the reader by using a crystal stair as a metaphor to symbolize the mother's life in contrast to the crystal stair. Crystal has connotations of beauty and visual smoothness. It is also a valuable piece of stone that only the wealthy could purchase in high volume such as that of a crystal stair. The crystal stair is very important to the body of the poem. Without this metaphor, the poem probably would not have the same effect on how the reader interprets it. Moving on to the third sentence, "Its had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor-Bare." The tacks and splinters could represent pain or scars left from the mother's past. The boards that were torn up could represent imperfection; a struggle or permanent loses and voids in her life. "No carpet on the floor-Bare" could mean that the mother has...

Find Another Essay On An Explication Of Langston Hughes' "Mother To Son"

Analysis of Langston Hughes.

964 words - 4 pages between Langston Hughes and African-Americans."Mother to Son" is the obvious poem about a mother giving advice to her son. The poem starts out with the mother telling her son that "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair" (line 2). Here the metaphor of a "crystal stair" is being used to convey what the mother's life has been like. The "crystal stair" represents a life of glamour and magnificence. The mother is telling her son that there is no glamour

Criticism of Langston Hughes Essay

781 words - 3 pages profound significance. Everyone in the world encompasses flaws, therefore showing an immaculate group of people would consider a false statement. Hughes' literary elements are prime examples of a "race" that presume their position in the world and attempt to make a difference. A race triumphs as it undergoes several obstacles and shortcomings, thus proving an improved and enhanced race.Personally, Langston Hughes appears to be the greatest Negro

Biography of Langston Hughes.

901 words - 4 pages (February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967)Born in Joplin, Missouri, James Langston Hughes was a member of an abolitionist family. He was the great-great-grandson of Charles Henry Langston, brother of John Mercer Langston, who was the first Black American to be elected to public office, in 1855. Hughes attended Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio, but began writing poetry in the eighth grade, and was selected as Class Poet. His father didn't think he

Biography of Langston Hughes

1395 words - 6 pages blacks, he experienced and wanted his rights, and that inspired him. Although literary critics felt that Langston Hughes portrayed an unattractive view of black life, the poems demonstrate reality. Hughes used the Blues and Jazz to add effect to his work as well as his extravagant word use and literary tools help get the point he is pushing at across. Pieces of his work that demonstrate this the best are “Harlem(Dream Deferred),” “I, Too,” and “The

Langston Hughes, An American Poet

1677 words - 7 pages James Mercer Langston Hughes was one of the most influential African-American writers during the Harlem Renaissance. He was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri to James and Carrie Mercer Hughes. Hughes parents divorced shortly after his birth and his father moved to Mexico. Hughes went to live with his grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston in Kansas while his mother travelled back and forth with jobs. After his grandmother died he went

Harlem, An Analysis of a Langston Hughes Poem

1527 words - 6 pages Harlem, An Analysis of a Langston Hughes Poem The short but inspirational poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes addresses what happens to aspirations that are postponed or lost. The brief, mind provoking questions posed throughout the poem allow the readers to reflect--on the effects of delaying our dreams. In addition, the questions give indications about Hughes' views on deferred dreams. "Harlem" is an open form poem. The poem

Literary Critique of Langston Hughes

810 words - 3 pages men and women who lived with their contempt. Hughes presents his poems, such as “Mother to Son,” in a language and voice that his readers can relate to. Such lines as “Don’t you fall now --/ For I’se still goin’, honey/ I’se still climbin’/ And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair” served to assure his readers essentially that he was their equal, and that he understood the difficulties they faced. However, perhaps because of his unfortunate

The Biography of Langston Hughes

867 words - 3 pages (February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967) Born in Joplin, Missouri, James Langston Hughes was a member of an abolitionist family. He was the great-great-grandson of Charles Henry Langston, brother of John Mercer Langston, who was the first Black American to be elected to public office, in 1855. Hughes went to Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio, but began writing poetry in the eighth grade, and was selected as Class Poet. His father didn't

The Work of Langston Hughes

1337 words - 5 pages The Work of Langston Hughes Langston Hughes is considered by many readers to be the most significant black poet of the twentieth century. He is described as ³...the beloved author of poems steeped in the richness of African American culture, poems that exude Hughes¹s affection for black Americans across all divisions of region, class, and gender.² (Rampersad 3) His writing was both depressing and uplifting at times. His poetry, spanning five

Literary analysis of Langston Hughes

1611 words - 6 pages from that of the folk. His achievement was that of a connoisseur in love with the speech of black folk and with the folk themselves (Long 423).Surely, Hughes would be grateful that this author understood that the intent was not to mock, but rather to use auditory imagery to make his writings more real. In this Hughes accomplishes a great task; to bring home an aspect of black culture, that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.Not only did Langston

Response to Salvation by Langston Hughes

772 words - 3 pages Since the beginning of time, many words in the English language have been controversial. Although in the English dictionary, "saved" is defined as many different, meanings such as to rescue or deliver from danger or harm. To relate to this story, "saved" is defined as "to deliver from sin." This young boy, Langston, in "Salvation," by Langston Hughes, could not experience the true meaning of being saved. I, on the other hand, can.Langston's aunt

Similar Essays

Symbolic Imagery In Langston Hughes' Poems, The Negro Speaks Of Rivers And Mother To Son

1787 words - 7 pages Nelson. ?Langston Hughes and Harlem.? Literature An Introduction To Fiction, Poetry, And Drama. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 2003. 770 Hughes, Langston. ?The Negro Speaks of Rivers.? Literature An Introduction To Fiction, Poetry, And Drama. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 2003. 759 Hughes, Langston. ?Mother To Son.? Literature An Introduction To Fiction, Poetry, And Drama. Eds. X.J

Perseverance In Mother To Son And The Negro Speaks Of Rivers By Langston Hughes

975 words - 4 pages The founding fathers constructed the Constitution with the notion that “all men were created equal.” However, many minorities still struggle for the same rights and opportunities as others. “Mother to Son” and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” are poems written by Langston Hughes that use symbolism to exemplify the struggles of African Americans as they attempt to persevere through adversity. Hughes utilizes the stairs in “Mother to Son” and the

'mother To Son' By Langston Huges

555 words - 2 pages Growing up and being raised by his grandmother, Langston Hughes drew from her wisdom and life struggles. His mother had moved from place to place as she tried to raise her son and maybe could not support him with the little money she may have received. His father had left after one year of marriage to his mother. His mother allowed her mother to raise him and help provide for his needs. In the poem, “Mother to Son”, this conversation may have

Essay On Hardships Expressed In Hughes On The Road And Mother To Son

1521 words - 6 pages Hardships Expressed in Hughes On the Road and Mother to Son African-American citizens who live in the United States have experienced a tough life through personal experiences. They have struggled to obtain basic civil rights--a struggle that has spanned many centuries (Mabunda 311). Langston Hughes, author of the short story "On the Road" and the poem "Mother to Son," often illustrated in his writing the hardships experienced by the