2Born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. Langston HughesBorn February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri.He was an only child, his parents divorced, and his father moved to Mexico.Off and on, his grandmother was his primary caretaker until he was twelve years old; then he moved to Illinois and later Ohio to live with his mother and her new husband.To deal with loneliness, Langston wrote poetry and was a frequent visitor at the local libraries; he believed in books more than people.While in high school, he had many poems published in the school magazine about social injustice and what it meant to be black.
3Major events during Langston Hughes’ lifetime: The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965th Amendment gives women right to voteStock Market crashes / The Great DepressionDec. 7, Japan surprise attack on Pearl Harbor / Start of WWII Blacks boycott buses in Montgomery1955 -Supreme Court orders school desegregationCivil Rights movement1963 – President Kennedy assassinatedMartin Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream" delivered August, , at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
4Columbia University, 1920Working while attending high school, Langston saved his money to go to Columbia University; however, he quit after one year due to the cool reception by the predominately white student body.
5Life at SeaHeaded to Africa on a freight. Once there he was troubled by Africans lack of political and economic freedom. On the flip side, the Africans considered him white because of his lighter brown skin and straight hair.
6While in Africa, Hughes met a child ignored by whites & blacks; he based his play “Mulatto” on this child.
7Africa to ParisWroRoaring 20s, Hughes worked nights in a Paris Jazz club.
8Paris to Italy I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes I am the darker brother.They send me to eat in the kitchenWhen company comes,But I laugh,And eat well,And grow strong.Tomorrow,I'll be at the tableWhen company comes.Nobody'll dareSay to me,"Eat in the kitchen,”Then.Besides,They'll see how beautiful I amAnd be ashamed--I, too, am America.Robbed of the money he had saved for a ticket back to the United States, he applied for a job on a ship going to the states, but was told they only hire whites. It was at this time he wrote “I, Too, Sing America.”
91924, LANGSTON HUGHES returned U. S 1924, LANGSTON HUGHES returned U.S. to live in Harlem during a period known as the 'Harlem Renaissance.’"I tried to write poems like the songs they sang on Seventh Street... (these songs) had the pulse beat of the people who keep on going."His poems tell of the joys and miseries of the ordinary black man in America.
10Returns to college attending Lincoln University, Pennsylvania earns a B.A. degree in 1929.Photo taken while attending University in 1928.1930, Hughes publishes his novel, Not Without Laughter, The Dream Keeper and Other Poems
11Major Accomplishments He wrote 16 books of poetry2 novels3 collections of short stories4 volumes of "editorial" and "documentary" fiction20 plays,children's poetry,musicals and operas,3 autobiographies,a dozen radio and television scriptsand dozens of magazine articles.He died in 1967 from cancer.
12Mother to Son by Langston Hughes Well, son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. It's had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor -- Bare. But all the time I'se been a-climbin' on,And reachin' landin's, And turnin' corners, And sometimes goin' in the darkWhere there ain't been no light. So boy, don't you turn back. Don't you set down on the steps 'Cause you finds it's kinder hard. Don't you fall now -- For I'se still goin', honey, I'se still climbin', And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
13Metaphor Write down your interpretation of this line. Like most writers, Langston Hughes uses figurative language to express his ideas. In his poem “Mother to Son” Hughes uses metaphor to convey his message.A metaphor is a comparison that does not use the words “like” or “as.”In line two of “Mother to Son”, Hughes writes “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”Write down your interpretation of this line.
14MetaphorLike most writers, Langston Hughes uses figurative language to express ideas in his work. In his poem “Mother to Son” Hughes uses metaphor to convey his message.A metaphor is a comparison that does not use the words “like” or “as.”In line two of “Mother to Son”, Hughes writes “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Hughes makes the initial comparison between life and “crystal stair in this line. He continues the poem within that metaphor by symbolizing the hardships of life through a damaged staircase.
15Interpretation Line(s) -Meaning Mother to Son - A message from a mother to her son.Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair - Life has not been beautiful, transparent, or easy for the mother. It hasn’t been an easy climb.It’s had tacks in it, / And splinters, - Tacks and splinters are hazards that can cause pain, just like hazards and obstacles in life.And boards torn up, - The torn up boards represent damage, obstacles, and hardships in life.And places with no carpet on the floor – / Bare This creates the image of being cold, naked and isolated. It creates a mood of loneliness..
16More InterpretationsBut all the time / I’se been a-climbin’ on These two lines push the idea of consistency and endurance in life.And reachin’ landin’s - This represents achieving goals in life. The landing is a point of triumph.And turnin’ corners, -Turning corners means trying new things.And sometimes goin’ in the dark Going in the dark can represent courage and faith.Where there ain’t been no light No light represents unexplored and foreign territory.So, boy, don’t you turn back Don’t run away from life.Don’t you set down on the steps Don’t give up.
17Still More Interpretations ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard Because it is hard.Don’t you fall now Don’t get weak.For I’se still goin’, honey, / I’se still climbin’ - She is showing her son it can be done and she is the example.And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair It wasn’t easy for the mother either.***This is not the only interpretation, just the way that it is most widely interpreted.