When life becomes challenging, does the speaker give up? How do you know?

Expert Answers info

Gaia Chandler, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseEditor, Professional Writer

bookB.A. from DELHI UNIVERSITY

bookM.A. from DELHI UNIVERSITY

bookM.A. from ASIAN COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM


calendarEducator since 2019

write103 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son” is an inspirational poem in which a mother imparts an important life lesson to her grown son, but this lesson works on two distinct levels. One is a universal level in which the mother, the speaker in the poem, delivers universal wisdom to her son, as we can infer when she says she has been “goin’ in the dark” of life “where there ain’t been no light.” The mother has had a complex life, with many twists and turns, yet she has walked on, never giving up. Despite having a life far from perfect, she has persevered in the face of adversity, and so must the son. This is a good lesson for any child to learn.

At the other level however, the poem is rooted in a specific context: it is an African-American mother speaking to her son. Her refusal to give up in the face of life’s challenges gains a double impetus in this reading of the poem. Now we move in from the general to the particular and begin to pay attention to the poem’s language,...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 941 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Tressa Beahan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write591 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History






check Approved by eNotes Editorial