The poem “Mother to Son” with the aid of Langston Hughes is published in 1922. Its plot tells the reader life is not an easy ladder to climb. The poetic mask in the poem urges the son that lifestyles has not been easy for the mother. She discerns to him that it has now not been easy for her and similarly, it will not be handy for the son as well. She, therefore, shapes up her son by psychologically preparing him to be organized for the hard life that he will face. She informs him of her perseverance regardless of the hardships she encountered in her existence and promises him that he will emerge victorious regardless of the tumbles he will face (Guthrie, 2011).
By using the symbol of the staircase, the mother urges the son that life is compared to going up a hill. This tells the son that if he endures the hardships of going up the hill, he will eventually climb to the highest point (Guthrie, 2011). Henceforth, if he works hard by keeping in mind that he will make it to success regardless of the challenges, he will find the journey an easy one. The son should ignore the concept of hardness in life and focus on the promised success at the end of the struggles. This also offers advice and hope to the readers who might be on the verge of giving up in life by informing them of the progress and perseverance that should accompany their lives.
The mother uses the symbolism of a crystal to show to the son the kind of life she hoped to have. This is to show him the life that he should anticipate to live. With that in mind, the son should struggle up with adversities that the course of life will present to him and overcome them with his goal aimed at achieving a successful life (Guthrie, 2011). Therefore, through the reflection of the mother’s tumbles and falls, the son is challenged to appreciate the courage that the mother employed in dealing with life problematic presentation to her success. He should therefore not expect life to be a smooth and pleasant occasion.
Therefore, the poem uses the symbolism of struggle and problems that life poses to humankind as a way of encouraging tolerance and acceptance of life’s unwelcoming nature. However, this is armor-plated by the encouraging words that try to solve the mystery of life by maneuvering its hardships with informed steps and perception of what one needs in life. By outlining her life circumstances, the poet achieves convincing life objectives to the readers. By placing themselves in the shoes of the mother, they are challenged to take life positively and employ all their able skills in making it in life (Guthrie, 2011).
The poem warns of the discouragements that might force a person to give up in life. However, the poet uses the symbolism of not turning back to show how possible it is to ignore these discouragements. She, therefore, urges the son neither turn back nor step down in the face of problems. It is open that life has been filled with problems to its end and, thus, he should never expect life to present him with tidings (Hughes, 2017). He should always make life pleasant by undertaking encouraging steps for progress. In that context, therefore, life’s obstacles should never be a holding factor to success. Therefore, it is an encouragement to face life with the knowledge that it is not an easy journey (Guthrie, 2011). With that perspective in life, it is a basic mental step that anything is possible in life no matter what might be flung our way.
Guthrie, D. L. (201). Integrating African-American literature in the library and classroom. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio.
Hughes, L. (2017). Mother to Son. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47559/mother-to-son