The two first lines of this poem set up what the title indicates: this poem is a touching speech spoken by a mother to her son. We see that the son never speaks, we never hear him; this means that the mother’s knowledge of life and advice might for that reason apply to all readers, but especially to younger African-American readers. The analogy of the crystal stair can symbolize a few different things. One of them could be the ambitions and desires that the mother had at one point grasped, but which she has learned to let go.In each imaginable perception, the crystal stair implies smoothness and an easy way, elegance, wealth, and a well-lit path toward a rich haven. These perceptions contradict with images in the poem that show how tough and uninviting the mother’s actual life had been.These few lines show us how the mother describes the certain ways that her life’s excursion deviates from the model of the crystal stair. The tacks and splinters may be thought of as figurative perils one could find on a real stairway in a broken, rundown building. These symbols, the tacks, the splinters, the bad carpet, and the ripped-up boards can all resemble erosion and desuetude. We can see that there have already been many people who have dragged themselves on this trip, and many more will still do it after the mother.All the messed up parts of the stairs could symbolize the failure of lone travelers to fix the edifices holding up their lives. Things such as reduced favorable circumstances and poverty. It could also symbolize the impaired state of African Americans in America. The torn boards could be meant to show a person’s effort to break apart the stairway completely. Some depict the tacks and splinters as danger to this mother’s body and soul. Palpably, these things serve as little, annoying pains that could perforate and infect the mother as she ascends these stairs. Allegorically though, these little threats symbolize possible harm to the “black American soul.” The way the mother understands and avoids these obstacles portrays her wise mediation of life’s obstacles.