kitchenette building

The poem “Kitchenette Building,” by Gwendolyn Brooks, is a rather depressing outlook on those in poverty. The poem reveals how truly horrid the circumstances of the poor are. In the first stanza she says, “’Dream’ makes a giddy sound, not strong like ‘rent,’ ‘feeding a wife,’ ‘satisfying a man. ’” By this she means that, while the word dream is an enjoyable thing to think about, there are too many other things that the poor have to think about, like paying the rent and feeding the family.

They are not given the luxury to dream, if not but for a few seconds. This is later exemplified once again when she says, “Even if we were willing to let it in, had time to warm it, keep it very clean, anticipate a message, let it begin? We wonder. But not well! Not for a minute! Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now, we think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it. ” Even if a dream were allowed to enter into their minds, even if they had made enough time to think of one, they could only ponder it for seconds before it was time, in this case, go be the sixth person to use the shower.

Their minds slip from dreaming a dream, to hoping the water is at least lukewarm. By saying “a dream,” rather than saying, “dreams,” Brooks also puts emphasize on the fact that not only are the poor given little to no time to dream, but they only ever have ONE dream. They can’t even imagine having more than one dream, since having one costs so much alone. In a way, this poem is a wake-up call to the middle class and up. None of us think much about the ability to have dreams, yet we are so blessed to have them!

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