Mother to Son
Langston Hughes’ moving poem “Mother to Son” empowers not only the son, but also the reader with precious words of wisdom. Through the skillful use of literary devices such as informal language, symbolism, metaphors, repetition, as well as clever use of format, Hughes manages to assemble up the image of a mother lovingly, yet firmly, talking to her son about life. This poem is an advice from a mother to son about life that will be challenging and do not think about giving it up.
The theme that this poet conveyed in the poem is determination to live without ever thinking giving up although the obstacles are harsh. Besides, it also emphasize regarding the struggle for life that the one will experience but still have the strength to face it day by day. It also shows about affection and as motivation of a mother to son that takes care of his son and gives advice so that the son will somehow be prepared to face the life. Langston Hughes’ poem, “Mother to Son” resemble to the well-known expression “let’s have a father to son chat”.
However, in this case, the saying is altered to “mother to son”. Poetic devices such as informal language, symbolisms, metaphors and repetition were used in this poem. This poem is written from the mother’s point of view in the advice form so the audience could feels the warmth and approachability of southern dialect. Readers will immediately have an impression of a middle-aged women battered by life’s struggles, with no formal education but plenty of life experiences to share with the son.
Informal language is cleverly used to visually portray a truthful motherly figure that has valuable advice to offer. The persona of the poem is an African-American showed by the dialect used with the missing ‘g’ such as in “climbin’, turning’ ” etceteras. It also use the word “ain’t” which is often used by the African-American. In addition, symbols like “tacks” is used to illustrate the sharpness and discomfort of life’s obstacle. Splinters represent the inflammatory pain and the difficulties in removing and overcoming this pain in life.
Even the metaphor of life being compared to stairs symbolizes the exhaustive uphill climb in life. In contrast, the crystal stair represents clarity and perfection, a life that the mother makes obvious was not given to her. In this poem, Hughes develops a sort of negative extended metaphor by having the speaker compare her life to a staircase that “ain’t been no crystal clear”. In other words, she develops the metaphor b describing what it isn’t rather than what it is. Moreover, repetition adds to the imagery of the poem and helps support the theme.
Even the repeated use of specific words adds to the effect of repetition. Using the word “and” repeatedly creates a constant feeling of never-ending continuation, consequently reinforcing the theme of courage and determination, both vital factors necessary to continue the “stair climbing. “
In conclusion, Langston Hughes’ moving poem “Mother to Son” empowers not only the son, but also the reader with precious words of wisdom. Through the skillful use of literary devices such as informal language, symbolism, metaphors, and repetition, Hughes manages to create the image of a mother lovingly, yet firmly, talking to her son about life. The advice is simple but pertinent to the poetic theme: in order to overcome the hurdles of life, a person must possess courage and determination. Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist.
Hughes is known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance Robert Lee Frost, arguably the greatest American poet of the 20th century, was born in San Francisco, California, on March 26, 1874. Frost said his poem “The Road Not Taken” was tricky-very tricky. Three things make his poem tricky-the time frame, and the words “sigh” and “difference. ” Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” has been one of the most analyzed, quoted, anthologized poems in American poetry. A wide-spread interpretation claims that the speaker in the poem is promoting individualism and non-conformity. A Tricky Poem
Frost claims that he wrote this poem about his friend Edward Thomas, with whom he had walked many times in the woods near London. Frost has said that while walking they would come to different paths and after choosing one, Thomas would always fret wondering what they might have missed by not taking the other path. About the poem, Frost asserted, “You have to be careful of that one; it’s a tricky poem – very tricky. ” And he is, of course, correct. The poem has been and continues to be used as an inspirational poem, one that to the undiscerning eye seems to be encouraging self-reliance, not following where others have led.
But a close reading of the poem proves otherwise. It does not moralize about choice; it simply says that choice is inevitable, but you never know what your choice will mean until you have lived it. First Stanza – Describes Situation The poem consists of four stanzas. In the first stanza, the speaker describes his position. He has been out walking the woods and comes to two roads, and he stands looking as far down each one as he can see. He would like to try out both, but doubts he could to that, so therefore he continues to look down the roads for a long time trying to make his decision about which road to take.
Second Stanza – Decides to Take Less-Traveled Road The speaker had looked down the first one “to where it bent in the undergrowth,” and in the second stanza, he reports that he decided to take the other path, because it seemed to have less traffic than the first. But then he goes on to say that they actually were very similarly worn. The second one that he took seems less traveled, but as he thinks about it, he realizes that they were “really about the same. ” Not exactly the same but only “about the same. ” Third Stanza – Continues Description of Roads
The third stanza continues with the cogitation about the possible differences between the two roads. He had noticed that the leaves were fresh fallen on them both and had not been walked on, but then again claims that maybe he would come back and also walk the first one sometime, but he doubted he would be able to, because in life one thing leads to another and time is short. Fourth Stanza – Two Tricky Words The fourth stanza holds the key to the trickiness of the poem: I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Those who interpret this poem as suggesting non-conformity take the word “difference” to be a positive difference. But there is nothing in the poem that suggests that this difference signals a positive outcome. The speaker could not offer such information, because he has not lived the “difference” yet. The other word that leads readers astray is the word “sigh. ” By taking “difference” to mean a positive difference, they think that the sigh is one of nostalgic relief; however, a sigh can also mean regret.
There is the “oh, dear” kind of sigh, but also the “what a relief” kind of sigh. Which one is it? If it is the relief sigh, then the difference means the speaker is glad he took the road he did; if it is the regret sigh, then the difference would not be good, and the speaker would be sighing in regret. But the plain fact is that the poem does not identify the nature of that sigh. The speaker of the poem does not even know the nature of that sigh, because that sigh and his evaluation of the difference his choice will make are still in the future.
It is a truism that any choice an individual makes is going to make “all the difference” in how one’s future turns out. Careful Readers Won’t Be Tricked So Frost was absolutely correct; his poem is tricky—very tricky. In this poem, it is important to be careful with the time frame. When the speaker says he will be reporting sometime in the future how his road choice turned out, he clearly states that he cannot assign meaning to “sigh” and “difference” yet, because he cannot know how his choice will affect his future, until after he has lived it.
I think this song is an expression of his dissatisfaction with the way he lives. He is tired of letting society, culture or “the hive” drive his life. Now, he’s taking the wheel into his own hands. Even if it means not being accepted by the hive or sacrificing a comfortable lifestyle, he wants to be the one in control of his life. Lead singer Brandon Boyd: “The lyric is basically about fear, about being driven all your life by it and making decisions from fear. It’s about imagining what life would be like if you didn’t live it that way. “