Gender across generations

29 May

As you know, I have been working on putting together a unit which explores poetic representations of gender (see here, here and here).  After searching for ages, I am finally starting to make headway on the final section of poems.

After exploring Maya Angelou’s ‘Phenomenal Woman,’ I am going to introduce students to ‘Mother to Son‘ by Langston Hughes.  As suggested by the name, the poem explores a mother’s message to her son.  The mother has had a difficult life but has persevered, she exhorts her son to do the same.   The central metaphor of the poem is sufficiently sophisticated to interest my students, but not so complex that they don’t understand it.  In terms of gender, it also reveals that women are resilient and strong.

Upon the suggestion of a colleague, I am considering teaching Tupac’s ‘Dear Mama‘ (video clip) alongside ‘Mother to Son’.  Again, the focus is on the relationship between mother and son.   Again, the mother in the poem has had a difficult life.  Tupac’s admiration is clear, once again emphasising that women are strong and able to overcome adversity.  As an added benefit, my showcasing the son’s admiration, we also see a softer side to masculinity.

2 Responses to “Gender across generations”


  1. “Being a man is more than being male” | Once uPUN a time... - May 30, 2015

    […] mentioned in my previous post that one of the things that I like about Tupac’s ‘Dear Mama’ is that the […]


  2. Poetry and politics in the classroom | Once uPUN a time... - June 1, 2015

    […] am a fan of using music in the classroom (see, for example, here) and am keen to explore Macklemore’s ‘Same Love‘  (lyrics) as part of a Year 10 […]


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