"Mother to Son"
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor--
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now--
For I'se still goin' honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

Read the poem 2x (or more). Answer the following questions in your notebook.

  1. Try to picture the mother. Briefly describe her. What makes you think so?
  2. *The poem compares life to a _____. This kind of comparison is called a ______.
  3. Why might this woman have chosen this image to represent her life?
  4. Why might the poet have put the word Bare on a line by itself?
  5. * (Quote) What is her advice for her son?
  6. *Which of the following best fits the tone (attitude) of the poem? a) Exhausted and hopeless. b) Weary, yet determined. c) Lively and humorous. d) Sorrowful and gloomy. e) Regretful about life.
  7. *kinder? I'se?