Friday, May 11, 2012

"Mother to son"

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“Mother to Son”

In this poem, Hughes uses metaphors by having the speaker compare her life to a staircase that aint been no crystal stair. In other words, she develops the metaphor by describing what it isnt rather than what it is. The speaker is speaking to her son about the struggles she went through in her life, and how she overcame them to be what she is today. Hughes symbolizes the afflictions of life through a damaged staircase. He uses cold images such as “And boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor”. (Line 5-6) This line creates a sense of loneliness, and a image of being naked, cold, and isolated, but the speaker pushes the idea of endurance of life. The line “And reachin’ landin’s” (line10) represents achieving goals in life and trying new things. Also the speaker is saying not to give up and to have courage and faith because life is hard , and she (the speaker) is a prime example of “making” it.


This poem is about the conflict between father and son that is hardened by the situations that went on in the past. Hughes uses the past to keep the white man deep in thought and tells of how the mixed child was rejected by his white half-brothers. The father just left his son, and the father does not think of the son as part of him because of the black in the son. The whites do not accept the son; he wants to be accepted. “Git on back there in the night, You aint white” “Naw, you aint my brother. Niggers aint my brother.” (Line 6-7and 6-7) This shows that he is not accepted; they call him yellow. In the last third line of the poem, the father reminiscences of woods, stars, and how black women were exploited for the white man’s pleasure, but when a mixed child is born, white man rejects it. At the end, the son says, I am your son, white man! (Line 1) is the son making his father feel bad for his actions. The son was not asked to come into the world, but since he is here he wants to be acknowledged by his father, who would not acknowledges him because the father regrets of having him.

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