The poem is a conversation between one generation to another. The mother is describing the hardships of her life to her son. She is encouraging her son not to give up on the hard things in life.
The tone of this poem is didactic which means intended to teach. In the poem, the mother tells her son, "So boy, don't your turn back. Don't you set down on the steps 'Cause you finds it's kinder hard." She was telling her son not to quit when things get hard. There are some good ideas about life in this poem. This mother has many hardships, but she still keeps going.
The metaphor is a "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair." The imagery is a " Tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up." There is alliteration from this poem, "So boy, don't you turn back, Don't you set down on the steps, don't you fall now--."