Langston Hughes: Poems

The Value of Resilience: Message and Techniques in "Mother to Son" 10th Grade

Resilience is the most important trait one can have in life. Langston Hughes’ poem “Mother to Son” is an example of a parent’s lifetime of wisdom, summed up by a few sentences, being shared with their child. Comparing the mother's life to a staircase, the poem demonstrated the struggles of life and how it was necessary to overcome them in order to prosper, ultimately illustrating a tone of resilience. Langston Hughes uses symbolism, repetition, and metaphors to demonstrate that success comes from continuously striving to make progress, even when life is difficult.

Langston Hughes uses metaphors to communicate that life is challenging. She opens the poem by writing that “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair” (Langston 2). A crystal represents clarity and simplicity, and Hughes said that the entire “staircase”, which represents her entire life, has not been a crystal stair. Therefore the mother’s life as a whole has been confusing and difficult, and the crystal stair is being used as a metaphor to show this. Although Hughes says that life has not been crystal, she makes the comparison between life and a staircase. A staircase requires effort to climb, and are laborious if there are many stairs. Hughes uses this metaphor as a...

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