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Kitchenette Building

Kitchenette Building


by Gwendolyn Brooks

Stanza 3 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 8

Even if we were willing to let it in,

  • This line suggests that some of the people living in the kitchenettes are so jaded that they might not even let a dream into their minds, hearts, or lives. 
  • But why not? Maybe they fear losing it. Maybe they fear failure. Maybe they're suspicious of anything hopeful and positive because they've been dealt so much disappointment in their lives already. 
  • This line also works cleverly to highlight the fact that it's totally crowded in there. They don't have any more room to let anything else in, good or bad—not even a tiny, insubstantial dream. Now that's cramped.

Lines 9–10

Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?

  • Line 9 really hits on the dream being like another living thing coming into the kitchenette. In this way, the dream is personified by the speaker. It would be another thing to have to care for, like another child. It would need shelter and to be kept clean, and the speaker's not really sure the people in the kitchenette can take on more than they already have. 
  • The first part of line 10 gets at the meaning of a dream with "anticipate a message." Dreams have meaning (or would carry some sort of meaningful message), and are typically fulfilling. They're not part of the meaningless drudgery that has taken up so much of these peoples' lives, and that they're so familiar with. 
  • The second part of line 10 wonders if they'd ever even get to the point where they could let the dream take hold and get going, never mind let it flourish and come to life. This speaker wonders if there's literal or figurative room in the kitchenettes for a dream to even be born. 
  • And so ends our speaker's rhetorical question. What do you think? Will the dream get to stay, like some winner of an immunity challenge on Survivor: Kitchenette Building? Or will it be voted off? Let's read on…

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