I am trying to write a paper on this poem but I can't find all the imagery and I don't know how to explain it.
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The image of the stairway symbolizes the struggles of the mother's journey..... the uphill climb to a better life.
"I'se been a-climbin' on, / And reachin' landin's, / And turnin' corners," the mother says, conjuring the image of a climb through all of life's hardships. She tells her son, "Don't you set down on the steps. / 'Cause you finds it's kinder hard."
Images of the stairway also provide a view of the way in which they lived.... the poverty faced in northern cities after the Civil War, as so many frred blacks left the South.
"It's had tacks in it, / And splinters, / And boards torn up, / And places with no carpet on the floor— / Bare."
Darkness is symbolic of hopelessness.
"sometimes goin' in the dark / Where there ain't been no light."
Mother to Son