Langston Hughes: Poems

1. In the poem, whom is the speaker addressing and about what?

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

[5]And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor —

Bare.

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

[10]And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

[15]Don’t you set down on the steps

‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now —

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

[20]And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

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A mother is addressing her son about how hard life is and how to act honorably.