Mother to Son Questions and Answers
by Langston Hughes

Start Your Free Trial

What is some figurative language that is used in Langston Hughes's "Mother to Son"?

Expert Answers info

Julianne Hansen, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Clemson University


calendarEducator since 2019

write1,929 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

The speaker employs a vernacular that would be common for a black mother in this historical context to use in speaking with her son. This accounts for the colorful language such as "I'se" and "kinder" that would be easily accessible for her son's understanding, which is the goal of her advice.

Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound in a single line, such as in the line "’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard" (emphasis added). This long i sound slows down the line, forcing the son to pay close attention to this line. He may struggle and life might be hard, but he can't sit down now.

The symbolism of the bright crystal stair is juxtaposed with the mother's actual experience, symbolized by "the dark / Where there ain't been no light." These symbols of darkness represent the mother's struggles when she felt alone and isolated. The darkness symbolizes her own inner hopelessness in her situation—yet she has persisted. Although she could not find her way, she kept "turnin' corners," a symbol...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,001 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Elva Dahl eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write204 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Mary Sutton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write715 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial