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Enhlish Critical Lens Essay

According to Patrick Ness, “It’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up again”. In other words, life is full of obstacles and hardships. But what is most important is to persevere, and I defiantly agree with this statement. Two literary works that support this statement are “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

In the poem “Mother to Son”, the speaker admits that her life has been difficult, but despite the hardships, she does not give up. She uses an extended metaphor to describe to her son, how even though her life has been hard, she still moves on. The metaphor describes her difficult life to be a dilapidated staircase. The times are metaphorically described as the “splinters, boards torn up, no carpet, bare”. Despite these problems the mother encourages her son to keep on climbing, as she has done her entire life.

In the novel, The House on Mango Street, Esperanza grows up in a poor neighborhood but refuses to be limited by her surroundings. She uses literary elements to describe how horrible her place of living is and how she overcomes the will to give up. The setting in witch she is surrounded by is described as being poor, segregated, unwelcoming and just plain beaten down. For example when Esperanza says in the literary work, “The House on Mango Street is small and red with tight steps in front and the windows so small you’d think they were holding their breath” just describes a little bit how bad she thinks of her home. But even though she hates her surroundings she is faced with a conflict. Esperanza, versus nature. She hates her setting, but yet still wants to persevere.

In both the novel, The House on Mango Street, and the poem “Mother to Son”, the narrators are faced with struggle and hardship. A mother trying to block out the negativity in her sons head, to allow him to persevere, and a young adult trying to understand that even though times can be rough, she can still move on, and still survive.


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