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thomas paine's common sense

             Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
             And places with no carpet on the floor-.
             And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
             Langston Hughes" poem "Mother to son" shows a mother's passion to make her son's life better than her own. It is a dramatic monologue (a poem in which one person speaks), but we know someone from the inside is listening to her. It is through tone, diction, and imagery that Langston Hughes presents a black Madonna by bringing salvation to her son. .
             The tone of the poem shows the desperation and despair that the mother has felt in her life. Yet, she still believes that life is worth the journey. She still believes that "at the top of the stair" there is a reward, either in heaven or success in this life. The tone indicates the mother's courage and her perseverance. It is the intentions of her feelings that proves her resourcive strength in her son's life.
             The diction in the poem is the language of an uneducated black woman who probably emigrated from the south to the north, where she lives in a tenement building in a ghetto. Words that give her background away include I'se, ain't, "cause, and the clipped "g" in words such as climbin", and goin". Her grammatical errors also expose her background. She uses set instead of sit, and no instead of any. Despite the mother's substandard use of language, it is her powerful use of words that intensify the poem.
             Imagery is especially powerful and moving. The central image of this poem is a crystal stairway. This is a beautiful image of life as climb to the top and toward Heaven. Perhaps she worked in one of the glamorous hotels in New York where there is a crystal stairway, or maybe it represents the climb from the ghetto to the golden crown. It is the only pretty image in "Mother to Son". All the others show pain emptiness, and bleakness of her world. She uses images like tacks and splinters to show her pain. She show the emptiness in her life with lines like "boards torn up", and "and places with no carpet on the floor".

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