Mother to Son Figurative Language
"Life for me ain't been no crystal stair"
Life has been difficult for the speaker. She has had to struggle and work hard to survive and improve her circumstances.
"It's had tacks in it/ and splinters"
The "staircase" of life has been filled with difficulties.The tacks and splinters represent hardships and moments that brought the mother pain. These could include working long hours, losing a job, dealing with illness, watching a loved one die, or many other difficulties.
The "bare" portion of the staircase again suggests difficulties. By isolating the word "bare" in its own line, Hughes suggests the mother was lonely or poor. She had no soft carpet of friends or money to bring her comfort or to ease the pain of her journey.
"And sometimes going in the dark/Where there ain't been no light"
I can't see how things will ever get better...
The darkness represents hopelessness. When the speaker says there "ain't been no light", she suggests that there is no happy, bright spot in her life to bring her joy or give her hope in a brighter future.
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