Mother to son by Langston Hughes is written as a conversation from mother to son. This poem implicitly carries autobiographical characteristics. It narrates the discrimination faced by black women in America.
Hughes was a prominent figure in Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, Hughes presents his mom as a strong person.
The poem begins with beautiful imagery of stairs to denote the hardships including the racial discrimination, the mother has to undergo as an Afro-American in the early twentieth century.
She uses many other imageries to narrate her struggles to his son. She narrates her problems to motivate her son. The poet advises her son that life would never be a crystal stair yet keep climbing.
The poet also presents the theme of persistence in the poem. He hails his mother’s consistent effort for survival.
The poet marks his mother’s words as true motivation. She says to him,
” So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you fall now For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’”
Langston Hughes’ discusses racial discrimination in his other poems too.
Read the full poem below
“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
And turnin’ corners, Don’t you set down on
the steps. ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
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.”