Langston Hughes’ Mother to Son

4 April 2015
This paper analyzes the content of the poem Mother to Son by the poet Langston Hughes.

This paper examines the text of this poem from a African-American perspective. The analysis uses poetic devices and the background of the literary environment. Line by line analysis is provided to show how the poem uses the everyday ordinary dialect of blacks, and gives insight into the poverty and discrimination that blacks faced during the 1920’s.
`Between 1919 and 1926 there was a major population shift of African-Americans to the cities of New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C (America Online). In 1921, Langston Hughes was one such African American who had traveled to New York to attend Columbia University. This population shift resulted in an obvious display of creativity among the African-American race. The creativity broadened the scope of African American influence on the American society, culture and primarily literature. The influence was so enormous and collective that it took form of a movement, which began in about 1920 and lasted until about 1930. This period was first known as the `New Negro Movement,` but it later became known as the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance represented the African American intellect and the consequent intellectuals who celebrated their heritage and background with immense pride and gusto. It was during this movement and into this heady climate that the poem `Mother to Son` was introduced. The politico-literary climate was charged and just ripe and the need for African American contribution was being recognized. One of the critics voiced the urgent need when he cried, `what American literature decidedly needs at the moment is color, music, gust If the Negroes are not in a position to contribute these items, I do not know what Americans are.` `

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Langston Hughes' Mother to Son. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved January 21, 2022, from
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