“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes – Analysis and Poem

Synopsis

“Mother to Son” is a poem written from the point of view of a mother talking to her son. She begins by telling the son that life is not a crystal stair, that it has tacks and splinters and all the boards are torn up and doesn’t even have carpet in some places. The mother states that she has been climbing up the stairs and turning corners and how sometimes it goes dark but do not turn back. She says to keep climbing the stairs and that she is still climbing them herself.

Analysis

This is a poem about a mother giving advice to her son about life. The poem speaks about how sometimes life has many hardships, but we cannot turn back. We must push through the hardships. We must keep living our lives. Sometimes there are good days, sometimes there are bad days. She ends the poem by stating that she is still climbing and that life is not easy.

Keywords

Crystal stair – easy life
And sometimes goin’ in the dark – hard times in life
Where there ain’t been no light – when there’s no good happening

Poem: “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor-
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
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.
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’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia.

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