Mother to Son is known as the title of the poem written by Langston Hughes. It is a 1922 poem. This one is about a mother speaking to her son about her life. One of the lines found in the poem is “ain’t been no crystal stair”. In the beginning of the poem, the mother describes the struggles that she has faced and then urges the son to continue moving forward. For your information, it was referenced by Martin Luther King Jr. a few times in his speeches during the civil rights movement. This one has been analyzed by a number of critics, especially for its style and representation of the mother.
The poet called Mother to Son is considered short. Here is every single word included in the poet:
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
The poem by Langston Hughes called Mother to Son above is available to read at CommonLit. It is usually used for the 7th grade. After reading the poem, there is a set of questions that you can try to answer. If you have a hard time while trying to answer the questions or if you have answered everything and want to check if the answers are correct, you can check the answers key of Mother to Son CommonLit below:
- In the poem, who is the speaker addressing, and about what?
Answer: A mother is warning her son about the difficulties of life and the struggle to persevere.
- Which of the following best explains the significance of the staircase in the poem?
Answer: The narrator describes a tiring climb up a beat-up staircase, which represents her persistence through difficulties and challenges in life.
- Part A: Which of the following statements best describes a major theme of the poem?
Answer: Persevere when life isn’t easy.
- Part B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?
Answer: “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” (Lines 14-18)
- How do the poem’s use of language and free verse contribute to the author’s purpose?
Answer: RL.2.5/2.6 Hughes ‘ use of free verse mimics everyday speech patterns and conversation, which contributes to the author’s purpose because it accurately portrays a heartfelt conversation between a mother and son. By reflecting natural speech patterns in the poem, the author creates a sense of sincerity which makes his message to keep climbing more poignant.
- In your opinion, do all Americans have equal access to the American Dream? What are some of the factors that could make it easier or harder to achieve happiness in America? Why do you think Harlem Renaissance writers focused on the American Dream?
Answer: The American dream is made possible due to equal opportunity for all. To some people, this dream isn’t possible, it is just a dream. Although it’s not easy to achieve the American dream, with passion, hard work, and dedication, it is very possible to achieve. The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society in which upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American dream is appealing because some people have had to overcome social obstacles coming from nothing to something. The dream is a chance to build a successful business. This poem is talking about the American Dream and how easily it is for African-Americans to have it taken away from them. They have no knowledge of where it was taken or if they would ever get it back. That is the overall meaning of this poem.
- How do we achieve our goals or dreams? How do circumstance, status, and identity factor into this? In the context of this poem, how do people overcome adversity? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
1) Planning a path to reach them and striving to walk that path through hard work, effort, and dedication. In addition, it is necessary that we do not lose focus and have the intelligence to move forward in a consistent and progressive way.
2) Adverse circumstances tend to negatively influence our walk, so it is necessary that we have a resilient and focused personality, that way we will be able to move forward and shape ourselves as circumstances require, but without losing focus and abandoning the walk to the goal. A person’s status can also be influential in this regard. This is because we will not always be able to reach our goals alone, we often need help and our status is one of the biggest determinants of the help we may or may not get.
3) According to the poem, people overcome adversity through resilience. This means that people recognize adversity and recognize that life is difficult, but even so they continue to struggle to advance and overcome problems. This is shown in the poem when the mother says that her life has never been easy, she has never had anything on a silver platter, but she keeps walking, fighting, and moving forward, even though circumstances say she is not capable.
So, how much did you get it right? If your score is high, then you can be proud of yourself.