Mother To Son Questions & Answers

Hi Everyone!! This article will share Mother To Son Questions & Answers.

This poem is written by Langston Hughes. In my previous posts, I have shared the questions and answers of The Bridge Builder, The Model Millionaire and The Echoing Green so, you can check these posts as well.

Mother To Son Questions & Answers

Word Galaxy

  • Tacks – nails
  • Crystal stair – here, not an easy, smooth life
  • Landin’s – an intermediate platform in a staircase
  • Splinters – a small thin sharp bit of wood, glass or metal

Question 1: Who is speaking in the poem and to whom are the words addressed?

Answer: A mother is speaking in the poem and her words are addressed to her son.

Question 2: What kind of life has the mother led? What does she compare her life to?

Answer: The mother has led a struggle some life. She explains the hard and harsh experiences of her life to her son. She shares the cruel reality that she has never led a luxurious, comfortable or a beautiful life as it might appear to her son. She compares her life not to be like a crystal staircase, and states that it has always been full of tacks, splinters and torn up boards. According to her, she went through difficult times, trying to live with the bare minimum that she had. There was no one to guide her yet she kept climbing the stairs of life. Even today, the hopeless and helpless situations do not demotivate her. There is hope yet in her life and she boldly determine to face the challenges.

Question 3: What does the speaker encounter on the stairs?

Answer: The speaker encounters tacks, splinters, holes, bare boards and patches of darkness on the stairs.

Question 4: Why do you think she is telling her son about her life in this way?

Answer: She is telling her son about her life in this way because she wishes to share her experience and encourage him to never give up.

Question 5: Even though there have been obstacles in the way what has the speaker done to continue her journey?

Answer: Even though there have been obstacles in the way she has kept climbing up to continue her journey.

Question 6: What three pieces of advice does the speaker give the boy?

Answer: The three pieces of advice that the speaker gives the boy are:
i. Don’t turn back.
ii. Don’t sit down.
iii. Don’t fall.

Mother To Son Questions & Answers

Question 7: Which line is the shortest? Why do you think the poet made this line so short?

Answer: ‘Bare’ is the line which is the shortest. The poet made this line so short as ‘bare’ stresses the importance to be patient and calm during the hardships.

Question 8: Explain the metaphor in the line, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” What do metaphors such as tacks, splinters and boards torn up suggest?

Answer: According to the above line, the poet highlights that the mother’s life has never been a “crystal stair” for her. It had lots of gaps, splinters (obstacles) and places without carpet. Despite these hinderances, she had managed to move ahead. The ragged staircase that she climbed had twists and turns, uneven surfaces etc. which she faced boldly, without any apprehensions and achieved most of her goals of life. Similarly, she wants her son to conjure up an idea in him that one should not give up hard work to reach his destination. Tacks, splinters and boards torn apart means pointed objects and ragged paths that make the journey uncomfortable.

Question 9: What sense do you get about the son’s character? What impact do the mother’s advice have on him?

Answer: The son here seems to be a skeptical, frail hearted and fickle minded. He seems to have lost hope and confidence. At this juncture, his mother advises him to be strong and move ahead to achieve the result. Through her experiences, she tries to pillar him to strive hard and constantly keep working without being worried about result. Probably, his confidence is uplifted and he determines to work hard.

Question 10: What is the tone and mood of the speaker?

Answer: The speaker through this poem highlights the racial oppression faced by the blacks in America. The mother seems to be quite optimistic inspite of a troublesome life that she has already experienced. She wants her son to keep on striving hard towards his goal and never look back or give up helplessly. The poem appears to be sad yet an inspiring one and motivates the readers to believe in hard work rather than to nurture hope.

Question 11: Read and answer the questions:
It’s had tacks in it, And splinters,

(a) What does the word ‘tacks’ refer to in this line?

Answer: The word ‘tacks’ refer to nails or pins spread on the poet’s path of life. They basically refer to all the hinderances that he might face in his life.

(b) Why do you think did the mother advise her son?

Answer: The mother advised her son because she saw him losing hope in his life. She did this so that he could gain confidence to bounce back from his failures.

(c) What was the speaker’s life full of?

Answer: The speaker’s life was full of tacks and splinters.

Question 12: Read and answer the questions:
So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps.

(a) Who is the speaker of the above lines?

Answer: The mother is the speaker of the above line.

(b) Who is referred to as ‘boy’ in the above line? What does the speaker ask the boy to do?

Answer: ‘Boy’ is referred to the son of the mother. She advises him not to turn back and step down from his path towards success.

So, these were Mother To Son Questions & Answers.

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