Write 1 – 2 sentences explaining how his mother compares the staircase to life in the poem.
His mother uses a metaphor to compare life to a staircase with obstacles and unexpected corners that make the journey more difficult.
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 – Bare.
—”Mother to Son,”
Langston Hughes

What kind of figurative language does Hughes use in this stanza to show his mother’s view about life?

metaphor
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 – Bare.
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.
—”Mother to Son,”
Langston Hughes

What does his mother compare to the troubles and difficulties of life?

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splintered wood with tacks in it
Refer to poem in #3:

Which metaphor from the poem compares life to something enjoyable? Answer by completing the sentence.

The metaphor “crystal stairs” compares life to something enjoyable.
The golden brooch my mother wore
She left behind for me to wear;
I have no thing I treasure more:
Yet, it is something I could spare.
Oh, if instead she’d left to me
The thing she took into the grave! –
That courage like a rock, which she
Has no more need of, and I have.
—”The Courage That My Mother Had,”
Edna St. Vincent Milla

What was the one thing the author wished her mother left for her?

her courage
Refer to poem in #5:

Select the answer that best completes each important detail.

The author’s mother had courage like a rock.
The daughter treasured her mother’s courage more than anything.
Reread the poem. Look at the details in each stanza and write one to two sentences explaining the central idea of the poem.
Sample response: The daughter wished she could have her mother’s courage more than anything else her mother had. The brooch was a nice treasure, but she admired her mother’s courage more than any object.
Read these stanzas from the poem “Chorus” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Give away her gowns,
Give away her shoes;
She has no more use
For her fragrant gowns;
Take them all down,
Blue, green, blue,
Lilac, pink, blue,
From their padded hangers;
She will dance no more
In her narrow shoes;
Sweep her narrow shoes
From the closet floor.

How is the message of this poem similar to the poet’s message in “The Courage That My Mother Had”?

Both poems suggest that earthly items are unnecessary after death.
What figurative language does the narrator use with the images of tacks and splinters in “Mother to Son”?
a metaphor about life’s difficulties
Read the poem “The Path” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

There are no beaten paths to Glory’s height,
There are no rules to compass greatness known;
Each for himself must cleave a path alone,
And press his own way forward in the fight.
Smooth is the way to ease and calm delight,
And soft the road Sloth chooseth for her own;
But he who craves the flower of life full-blown,
Must struggle up in all his armor dight!
What though the burden bear him sorely down
And crush to dust the mountain of his pride,
Oh, then, with strong heart let him still abide;
For rugged is the roadway to renown,
Nor may he hope to gain the envied crown,
Till he hath thrust the looming rocks aside.

What is the central idea of this poem?

There are many obstacles and challenges on the way to success.
Read these stanzas from the poem “Ballad” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

I know my love is true,
And oh the day is fair.
The sky is dear and blue,
The flowers are rich of hue,
The air I breathe is rare,
I have no grief or care;
For my own love is true,
And oh the day is fair.
My love is false I find,
And oh the day is dark.
Blows sadly down the wind,
While sorrow holds my mind;
I do not hear the lark,
For quenched is life’s dear spark,—
My love is false I find,
And oh the day is dark!

What is the central idea of this poem?

The narrator’s mood is determined by the state of the relationship with his love.Read this excerpt from a poem.
Read this excerpt from a poem.

The dock was far from view
The hour of night was near
Unbeknown to the laboring crew
Cruel darkness crept o’er the stern.

Which line contains personification?

Cruel darkness crept o’er the stern
Read this excerpt from a poem.

Sighing sadly, hanging her head
Regrets resound
Apologies abound.
Forgiveness granted is like wings,
And she will soar.

Which line contains a simile?

Forgiveness granted is like wings,
What is the central idea of Langston Hughes’s poem “Mother to Son”?
Even though life is a struggle, people must persevere.
What figurative language does the narrator use to describe her life in “Mother to Son”?
a metaphor comparing life to a stairway
Read this excerpt from a poem.

The teacher called her name
The sound was an alarm
It prickled every hair
And jangled every nerve

Which line contains a metaphor?

The sound was an alarm
Read the poem “Travel” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.

What is the central idea of this poem?

The narrator is preoccupied by a desire to travel.