Mother to Son

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In the poem “mother to son” by means of Langston Hughes, it is clear that life is not an easy ladder to climb. The poetic masks in the poem urges the son that life has not been easy for her. She discerns to him that it has no longer been easy for her and similarly, it will not be easy for the son as well. She, therefore, shapes up her son with the aid of psychologically preparing him to be prepared for the hard existence that he will face. She informs him of her perseverance regardless of the hardships she encountered in her life and promises him that he will emerge victorious regardless of the tumbles he will face (Theoharis, 2015).
By using of the symbol of the staircase, the mother urges the son that life is like going up an ill. This tells the son that if he endures the hardships of going up the hill, he will eventually climb to the highest point (Guthrie, 2013). Therefore if he works hard by keeping in mind that he will make it to success regardless of the hardships, he will find the journey an easy one. He, therefore, 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 tries to help her son maintain his faith by encouraging him to persevere life struggles. The son is told to hold to hold onto dreams (Hughes 2017). The mother uses the symbolism of how her life sometimes appeared dark but still fought on. She, therefore, urges the son by informing him that dreams in life are like light that directs his motives towards success. They should, therefore, act as an inspiration to him to keep fighting. She tells him that without dreams he will be like a bird without wings. This is to show that all humankind should face life with objectives in life and the motive to work towards them despite the challenges that come their way (Theoharis, 2015).

The mother uses the symbolic work 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. Therefore 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 missioned at achieving a successful life (Guthrie, 2013). 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 present 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 (Theoharis, 2015).

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 therefore he should never expect life to present him with tidings (Hughes 2017). He should therefore always to make life pleasant by undertaking encouraging steps for progress. In that context, therefore, life hurdles 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, 2013). 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. (2013). Integrating African American literature in the library and classroom. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.

Hughes, L. (2017). Mother to Son. Poetry Foundation.

Theoharis, G., & Dotger, S. (2015). On the high wire: Education professors walk between work and parenting.

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