“Mother to Son” is perhaps Langston Hughes’ most famous poems. In this article, we will take a look at the meaning of the poem, analyze it, and then look at some different metaphors and phrases which may be confusing.
“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 it 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.
“Mother to Son” 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.
Figurative Language Meanings
- 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 boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor-
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.