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Literally analysis or explication of the poems. Mother to Son by Langston...

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salma1964 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 25, 2010 at 3:11 AM via web

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Literally analysis or explication of the poems.

Mother to Son


Langston Hughes'


I wrote the explication of the poem "mother to son" by Langston Hughes , but I need more standard to expand every line of the poem. You can go through my one, if you need I can send you.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 25, 2010 at 3:38 AM (Answer #1)

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Here is how I have annotated the poem, according to the question in my book, which asks:

"How is the central metaphor of climbing stairs a particularly appropriate idea for conveying this poem's theme?"

If I were doing a paper on it, I would combine Speaker, Tone, and Parts in the the first half of the paper; Metaphor, Imagery. and Theme in the second half; and I would leave technical elements for the end (Meter, etc...)

Speaker: an African-American mother, probably a domestic, encouraging her son, probably approaching manhood, to keep climbing the socio-economic ladder.

Parts: It's one stanza; a dramatic monologue.  The son, who many not be present (since he doesn't reply) is the recipient of this apostrophe (direct address to someone not present)

Tone: positive; encouraging.  Filled with lyricism, Black English, bluesy/Gospel metaphors

Metaphor: the stairs.  She's encouraging him to keep climbing, liker her, not to sit on the step of complacency.

Imagery: visual images of struggle: "tacks," "splinters," "light" vs. "dark"

Theme: hard work; self-determination; generational differences (uneducated parent vs. educated son); gender differences (female speaker vs. male audience)

Meter: free verse; no discernible meter; no rhyme scheme; lots of end-stopped lines (with commas, periods, colons at the ends)

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