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Kitchenette Building

Kitchenette Building


by Gwendolyn Brooks

Kitchenette Building Theme of Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

"Kitchenette Building" hinges on the possibility of a dream. Brooks poses the question: Amidst poverty and hardship, can a dream stand a chance of survival? It seems like the biggest obstacles to dreams are the struggles of everyday life. Maybe it's just too crowded, stinky, and real to entertain the idea of a dream. Could a dream ever be stronger than the stench of garbage, or the powerful smells of fried onions and potatoes? Ultimately, the speaker admits, living in a kitchenette means your time and focus is spent on worrying about the necessities of life (like how you'll pay rent, and when you'll get your turn in the bathroom). As nice as it sounds, there's just no room for dreaming. Sad.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. Why do you think the speaker of this poem is thinking about the topic of dreams? 
  2. How could the tasks and difficulties of daily life prevent a dream from happening? How might the speaker answer this question? 
  3. Do you think a dream could survive in a kitchenette building? Why or why not? What parts of the poem support your ideas?
  4. This poem took place about eighty years ago. Do you think dreams still face similar challenges today, or are the challenges different? How so? Could this poem still be written today? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Pish-posh and poppycock—despite what the poem says, circumstance and setting have nothing to do with whether a dream comes true or not.

Reality check, gang: this poem is spot on. People who have access to better opportunities and more hospitable home environments are more likely to realize their dreams.

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