The Importance of Determination

Topics: Maya Angelou, Metaphor, James Baldwin Pages: 2 (685 words) Published: January 22, 2013
The Importance of Determination
Everyday people face challenges, but it is important that one does not give up, and to keep trying until they successfully overcome the obstacles that stand in their way. “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes and “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou are two different works written by two different authors yet they both convey the same message. Together, the two authors stress the significance of pushing harder when faced with conflicts rather than simply giving up. Using figurative language and repetition, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou effectively emphasize this message in both of their poems.

In both poems, both authors attempt to convince the reader of the importance of not giving up and trying harder, and do so successfully. In “Mother to Son”, Langston Hughes is able to open the eyes and the mind of the reader by comparing the narrator’s difficult life to an object that is elegant, clear and simple. At the beginning and end of the poem Hughes’ writes, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” (Hughes 2, 20). Using the crystal stair as a symbol of clarity, Hughes’ is implying that life for the narrator is not clear and is not elegant, nor simple. He establishes the struggle in the narrator’s life and compares it to the crystal stair all while subliminally hinting that one must not back down from difficult courses in one’s life because no one’s life is a “crystal stair”. Much like the previous metaphor, Hughes’ highlights the importance of determination through another metaphor. He expresses, “It’s had tacks in it / And splinters / And boards torn up / And places with no carpet on the floor” (3-6). This metaphor is comparing life to a rough, bare and hard floor that has been through a lot. The use of this metaphor illustrates the image of a life that has been through a lot, but yet continues to persevere and manage through all the problems. In the same fashion as Hughes, poet Maya Angelou has used similar figurative language in...
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