Comparing Mothers in Mother to Son by Langston Hughes and GIRL by Jamaica Kincaid

Comparing Mothers in Mother to Son by Langston Hughes and GIRL by Jamaica Kincaid

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Mothers in Mother to Son by Langston Hughes and GIRL by Jamaica Kincaid


In order to build a strong, grounded house a person must use brick and cement. A brick is used to build the house, but yet it is the cement that molds and keeps the house together and intact. A family encompasses the same basic rules and needs. The father is the provider for his family, sort of like the brick, but it is the mother who holds the responsibility of teaching right from wrong, and they are the ones who keep strong when everything else is going wrong. Now days there are many single-mother families and the father is non-existent. Therefore, a mother plays a very strong, dominant, and essential role in her family.

Mothers always want their children to do right and most of all; want their daughters to be bright young women. In the poem "GIRL", by Jamaica Kincaid, a daughter is remembering all of the things her mother tried to advise her of. The girl in the poem is never given a name because the poem sort of symbolizes how all mothers are when their daughters are growing up. They try to teach them right from wrong. The mother recommends such things as, "don't squat down to play marbles-you are not a boy you know", "don't throw stones at blackbirds, because it might not be a blackbird at all", and, "on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming". The mother is only trying to teach her daughter to carry herself in such a manner that is lady-like. In the end of the poem the mother suggests that the daughter, "always squeeze bread to make sure it's fresh". The daughter then replied, "but what if the baker won't let me feel the bread?" Her mother was in complete dismay by her daughter's response, "you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won't let near the bread?" Mothers feel that they do have a certain obligation to mold their children. The mother is frightened that after all she has taught her daughter she won't grow up to be a lady.

The role of a mother is not only to distinguish to her children right from wrong, but are also there as a helping hand and guide.

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In the poem, "Mother to Son", Langston Hughes describes a mother sympathizing with her son and the problems he encounters. She reminds him that she has also struggled, "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair" (Line 2). The son seems to be wanting to give up, but the mother encourages him to go on, "So, Boy, don't you turn back/ Don't you set down on the steps/ 'Cause you find it's kinder hard" (Line 14-16). The mother keeps on giving her son confidence to her son. She knows he can succeed because she was once at a point in her life that was the same, but now is striving for the best, "I'se still climbin'" (Line 19). Because mothers are older and wiser they know exactly what to say to their children and how to make them feel better.

The mother the foundation of a family and a key element in a child's life. Sometimes it is only a mother's love that can heal. The role of the father in a family is not such a strong one. In most cases, such as my father and grandfather, it is the father who leaves the wife to fend for herself. The poem by Theodore Roethke, "My Papa's Waltz", entirely contradicts the idea of a family. In the poem the father is obviously present, but is drunk when he comes home. Roethke gives the idea that the father is a hard worker, "The hand that held my wrist/ Was battered on one knuckle" (Line 9-10). For that reason, I believe he is the "brick" or provider. Because the mother watches her husband dance with their son in discontentment, I feel the father is wrong. A member of a family, especially a father and/or mother should not drink alcohol. If when decides to they should not come home. Growing up with an alcohol completely shaped my idea of alcohol in a family, abuse or not. Nowadays mothers can raise children on their own and do not need the father figure around for any type of help.
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