by Gwendolyn Brooks
Kitchenette Building Theme of Dissatisfaction
"Kitchenette Building" is as much about dissatisfaction as it is about dreams. Life is hard for the residents of the kitchenettes. Working your rear end off to the point of exhaustion every day and still being uncertain of whether or not you'll make rent isn't particularly satisfying. And as this poem also suggests, that is a life without the promise of dreams coming true. It's hard not to feel some sense of dissatisfaction if you don't even have the time to think about pursuing your dreams. The Stones maybe have been about thirty years late on this one, but we're guessing some of the kitchenette residents would have really rocked out to this song.
Questions About Dissatisfaction
- What are some examples in the poem that hint at the dissatisfaction of the speaker?
- What, if anything, does the ability to pursue one's dream have to do with leading a satisfied, fulfilled life (or lack thereof)? How would the speaker answer that question?
- What role do poverty and prejudice play in the dissatisfaction of the kitchenette residents? What lines in the poem support your ideas?
Chew on This
Life… sucks. It's harder for the residents of the kitchenette buildings to feel satisfied in their lives because they're kept down by poverty and prejudice.
Hey, look on the bright side, gang. Satisfaction or dissatisfaction in one's life is something we're all personally responsible for; the circumstances of the kitchenettes shouldn't affect the residents' satisfaction either way.