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The poem is a narration from an African American mother to her son. The mother, who is the persona, advises her son on how to tackle world problems plus survival tactics from her own experiences

The poem is a narration from an African American mother to her son. The mother, who is the persona, advises her son on how to tackle world problems plus survival tactics from her own experiences


Question 1

The poem is a narration from an African American mother to her son. The mother, who is the persona, advises her son on how to tackle world problems plus survival tactics from her own experiences; the writer of the poem uses perceptible imagery of the staircase, making it look unpleasant for a walk. The metaphor used by the narrator might be effective since it illustrates that life human life is not smooth or easy. The poem primarily focuses on the staircase that is not made of crystal, which is the central metaphor in the poem. The metaphor is present throughout the poem, and the staircase signifies progress in life and the challenges encountered throughout human life. The woman uses the poem to portray hope about future situations when a person encounters adverse life events. Despite the life challenges, the woman states she manages to move forward. In the poem, the woman highlights that she climbed a staircase not made of crystal, which had turns and twists, rough surfaces which she faced courageously with no apprehensions and managed to achieve her life goals; the narrator of the poem advises her son never to give up towards reaching a personal life goal, despite experiencing uncomfortable life events.

Question 2

The writer of the poem uses imagery and symbolism to pass her message to listeners and her son. The staircase is the strongest symbol (Line 2) “life for me ain’t been no clear crystal stair,” where the staircase symbolizes the narrator’s life. The writer illustrates to her son how life has been, how to improve, and how to continuously struggle to win. The staircase from the poem might also represent the different life stages women encounter. Symbolism is evident in the poem in lines 3, 4, and 5, where the mother states that the staircase had tacks, splinters, and boards torn up. The speaker symbolizes that the stairs missed something; this might indicate that several of her life situations were tough. Since a torn ups in a stair might indicate gaps in the staircase and that the speaker faced challenges climbing up and down, she made it. The three lines could represent life difficulties for mothers in the early 1920s. “But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, “The writer might have used these terms to symbolize her life goals or accomplishments through the uncomfortable and unknown life challenges. 

Question 3

When I seem indecisive, weak-hearted, or even lose confidence, my father encourages me to be strong and always keep moving ahead to achieve my future life goals. Through my life experience, my father pillars me to put more effort and continuously keep working despite the outcomes or results by narrating several life experiences. He teaches me to remain optimistic despite challenging life experiences, thus nurturing hope and inspiring me. A message of advice from my father uplifts my confidence and encourages me always to work hard and never give up in life. The speaker in the poem advises the boy that he should not turn back, never sit down, and not fall in his lifetime. The speaker advises young men who might lose hope due to life challenges and convince them that life is worth living. I have never given an encouraging piece of advice to anybody.

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