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Poetry Explication Essay

1286 words - 6 pages

Tekela Genous
October 28, 2009

ENG 435

Langston Hughes “Mother to Son” is written entirely from a weary mother’s point-of-view and presents inspiration, themes, and imagery concerning the appearance and the reality of the poem. Every mother wants to see her child be successful in life through the hardships and the good times. The poem was written from a mother to her young son demonstrating the love and concern a mother has for her son and educating him on how life may be. The overall message is to never give up, although life is hard, one can never give up no matter what your struggles are, keep pushing forward. This poem implies that experience can teach life lessons, which ...view middle of the document...

After listing several of the problems she’s encountered and what he may encounter on his journey, the mother insists the worth of perseverance and having faith in your goals. From lines 7-13 she makes obvious that, despite obstacles, she has continued to push forward through it all. She insists that she doesn't want her son to avoid this staircase. She wants him to forge on and upward. The mother’s progression can represent all African Americans that wouldn’t give up or turn around. The mother may be using metaphors for climbing, reaching, and turning corners as a way for victories and triumphs of racial and spiritual struggles. She can be using this to show her son that life has its ups and downs but it can present optimism and accomplishments.

From lines 12-13 the mother says she’s “goin’ in the dark / where there ain’t been no light”, can represent her struggling with her own faith and goals but she didn’t give up. Hughes is showing the readers that the mother has had her own demons to fight, but with perseverance she’s made it through. She shares with her son that troubles don’t last always and if I can do it, you can too. She also uses this as a metaphor and tells her son that it may be dark sometimes and things may go wrong, but remember it’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

The last six lines (14-20) details the mother’s advice to her son, which turns from hardships her son should expect, to having determination and perseverance. These last seven lines encourage her son to keep going, regardless of setbacks, and your own will on wanting to give up. In line seventeen the mother tells him “Don't you fall now, For I'se still goin', honey” because they have came so far, so he must not give up now. Her “fall” can symbolize her falling from her spiritual grace or the setbacks of us as an African American race. At the end of the poem the mother thoroughly express that she’s “still climbin” and there is no turning back.

After reading this poem, it brings me back to a novel entitled, “Push” by Sapphire. This book goes through the life cycle of a young teenager named Precious. She endures so much from birth to adolescents, from molestation and impregnation; she still strives forward to not be illiterate all her life. Considering the cruelty, Precious overcomes this trauma and does not end up a statistics in society. Having two kids by her father, she only has custody of her youngest, she pushes herself to write and read so she can teach her son. She refuses to have him grow up and be...

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