Which of the following best explains the significance of the staircase in the poem? A. The narrator describes a tiring climb up a beat-up staircase, which represents her persistence through...

Which of the following best explains the significance of the staircase in the poem?

A. The narrator describes a tiring climb up a beat-up staircase, which represents her persistence through difficulties and challenges in life.

B. The narrator describes a crystal staircase, which symbolizes her goals and the hard work she has done to accomplish her dreams.

C. The narrator describes her climb up a dirty staircase that transforms into a crystal stair, which represents her ability to rise above difficulties.

D. The narrator describes herself going down a staircase that is falling apart, which represents her fleeing a difficult life.

Expert Answers info

Colin Cavendish-Jones, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Lawyer

bookM.A. from Oxford University

bookPh.D. from St. Andrews University


calendarEducator since 2019

write1,258 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The answer is A: The narrator describes a tiring climb up a beat-up staircase, which represents her persistence through difficulties and challenges in life.

The other options are incorrect because:

B. The narrator describes a crystal staircase, which symbolizes her goals and the hard work she has done to accomplish her dreams—The crystal staircase which is mentioned twice in the poem is there for the purpose of contrast. The Mother explicitly says that her life has never been a crystal stair but has been a hard struggle up a staircase fraught with obstacles such as tacks, splinters and torn-up boards. However, she has never given up but has persevered, reaching landings, turning corners, and having to proceed in the dark to reach her goal.

C. The narrator describes her climb up a dirty staircase that transforms into a crystal stair, which represents her ability to rise above difficulties—As noted above, the crystal stair is mentioned only for the purpose of contrast. The mother emphasizes that at no point has her life ever been a crystal stair and it still is not now.

D. The narrator describes herself going down a staircase that is falling apart, which represents her fleeing a difficult life—The poem clearly has a didactic intent. The mother is talking to her son, explaining to him that, although her life has always been hard, she has never given up and is still making progress. He should be inspired by her example and emulate her determination. This interpretation of the poem would entirely preclude the possibility of such a message to the mother's son.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial