Compare and contrast "Mother to Son" by Hughes with "Advice to My Son" by Meinke.

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The poems "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes and "Advice to My Son" by Peter Meinke are both about advice that parents give to their children. However, the advice in Hughes's poem has to do with persistence and survival, while the advice in Meinke's poem is how to enjoy a more privileged life.

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The poems "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes and "Advice to My Son" by Peter Meinke are similar in that they both concern parents offering advice to their children. In Hughes's poem, the speaker receives advice from a parent, while in Meinke's poem, the speaker is the parent...

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who is offering advice.

To be able to contrast the substance of the advice being given in each poem, it is important to have a look at the backgrounds of the poets. Langston Hughes was an African American poet who wrote about the black experience in America in the mid-twentieth century. He was associated with a movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, which emphasized realistic portrayals of what African Americans went through in this era. On the other hand, Peter Meinke had a white, middle-class upbringing and education.

We can see evidence of the differences in the poets' backgrounds as we focus on the advice that the parents give. In "Mother to Son," Hughes's mother emphasizes that her life has been difficult. She has had "no crystal stair." Instead, she has encountered "tacks," "splinters," "boards torn up," and "places with no carpet on the floor." These are all symbolic expressions of the struggles she has had to endure as she has made her way through life. For her, life is a continual stairway that takes effort to climb, and her advice to her son concerns survival. She admonishes him not to stop climbing and not to fall down. She uses herself as an example that if he persists and endures, he will able to keep going as he makes his way through life.

On the other hand, Meinke's advice to his son is of a much lighter nature. It does not concern survival but rather quality of life. He advises his son to live each day to the fullest but at the same time to plan for the future. He suggests planting vegetables as well as flowers, because flowers are pretty but vegetables are more practical. His advice of seeing the mother of the girl his son wants to marry involves a long-term view of marriage: that it is for life and not just for infatuation. Always serving wine with bread has to do with enjoying life instead of merely surviving.

We see, then, that the advice in Hughes's poem has to do with enduring difficult circumstances and surviving, while Meinke's poem deals with how to enjoy more privileged circumstances.

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I need help writing an essay comparing "Mother To Son" by Langston Hughes with "Advice to My Son" by J. Peter Meinke.

This is a truly interesting comparison. If I were writing this essay, I would organize my ideas into three main topics I wished to compare and contrast, being sure to make selections that show commonalities and differences between the two poems.

You could look at the focus or theme of each poem as one topic. "Mother to Son" focuses advice in one direction: Life is hard, so don't give up. She provides various examples from her own life to support the necessity and possibility of remaining strong through adversity. In "Advice to My Son," the author's focus isn't so singular. While the overall message is how to live life, there are various (and sometimes humorous) examples, from which girl to marry to the importance of serving wine with dinner. Thus, the tone is also different between the two poems. "Mother to Son" is stern while "Advice to My Son" shifts from concerned to humorous.

You could also examine the language between the two poems. Both are written in an accessible language, making it easy for the children of both poems to understand. Yet the language in "Mother to Son" reflects a particular African American dialect in order to develop the voice needed for the poem. "Advice to My Son" uses more standard applications of English.

You could also discuss the poetic devices that each poet uses to craft the overall message in the poem. While the speaker in "Mother to Son" primarily uses metaphors to further the imagery innate to life's difficulties, such as splinters and "places with no carpet on the floor," the speaker in "Advice to My Son" uses more natural metaphors, such as the "desert" and the "honied vine." You could also examine how the imagery in each poem is quite different and how that supports the differences in tone which each poet creates.

I hope this provides you with a structure and a few ideas to get you started. Good luck!

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I need help writing an essay comparing "Mother To Son" by Langston Hughes with "Advice to My Son" by J. Peter Meinke.

Comparisons do exist between the two poems "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes and "Advice to My Son" by J. Peter Meinke for your comparative essay. Both poems give good advice to the younger generation.

First of all, in "Mother To Son," the poet uses the extended metaphor of a staircase when the mother gives the advice to her son never to give up, because life has not been a crystal staircase for her, and it won't be for the son either. In fact, the staircase she's had to climb has "had tacks . . . splinters . . . And boards torn up" (3–5). The mother compares her life to the difficult climb on the staircase to give the necessary advice to the son never to sit down or fall but keep climbing. It has been thought that Hughes was likening the staircase to Jacob's Ladder (Genesis, Chap 2, vs 10–22) and the climb on the heavenly staircase to salvation to further illustrate the metaphor. Hughes uses extended metaphor, free verse, and repetition such as "I’se been a-climbin’" and "I’se still climbin’" to reinforce the mother's message.

Likewise, Meinke's poem "Advice to My Son" is also advice for living life. This poem also uses metaphor as the father tells the son to balance beauty with practicality and the necessities of life. The father states: ". . . between the peony and the rose plant squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes" (11–12). The flowers represent beauty, and the vegetables represent the necessities of life. The father also reminds the son that life is short and should be enjoyed. However, one must still plan for the future (1–5). And just like the mother in "Mother To Son," the poet also warns of difficult times, again using metaphor with the image of "the shattered windshield and the bursting shell" (7). This poem ends with the repetition of the theme of balancing the luxury of wine with the necessity of bread, just as the flowers were juxtaposed earlier in the poem with the vegetables.

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I need help writing an essay comparing "Mother To Son" by Langston Hughes with "Advice to My Son" by J. Peter Meinke.

The first factor affecting the difference between these two works is the circumstances of the authors.

Hughes was born in 1902 and Meinke some thirty years later in 1932. Hughes was African American and, though from an educated family, experienced several disruptions in his family life and worked odd jobs before finally succeeding as a writer. He moved to New York's Harlem, where he lived for most of his life, and rarely accepted offers to teach at universities. Hughes never married.

Meinke, who is of white ancestry, was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and grew up in New Jersey. He attended Hamilton, an elite liberal arts college, received a PhD from the University of Minnesota, was a professor at Eckerd College in Florida from 1966 until his retirement in 1993, and is an active member of the academic creative writing community. He is married and has children.

"Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes reflects the situation of an African American woman, living in poverty and enduring racial discrimination, struggling to make a good life for herself and her family. The tone is colloquial, using many distinctly African American dialectical features. The mother urges the son to continue struggling to improve his life, never resting or relaxing, no matter how difficult the situation. She sees her struggles as a model for her son to emulate. The tone of the poem is one that prompts us to admire the mother's determination.

In comparison, "Advice to My Son" by J. Peter Meinke reflects a form of white privilege, taking for granted that neither narrator nor son really needs to face a life of struggle for survival. Instead, the poem follows a "carpe diem" theme, suggesting that as life passes by quickly, the son should enjoy sensual pleasures such as beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables and enjoy the luxury of relaxing with friends over wine. The son should, of course, marry a "pretty" girl (whether the girl has any intellectual or moral character doesn't seem to matter) and relax and enjoy life.

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