Study Guide

good times Family

By Lucille Clifton

Family

Sure family can be annoying sometimes, what with Aunt Sally's slobbery kisses and our little brother bugging us all the time. But more often than not, family is a great thing. And since no family is perfect, Clifton reminds us that all we can really do is appreciate those "good times" when they come. Even when there isn't much money around and we're not sure when those bills will get paid, at least we have some happier moments to rely on. And in Clifton's poem, those moments are all that really matter, especially when life tends to get a bit tougher than we'd like.

Questions About Family

  1. Why do families always hang out in the kitchen? How does the kitchen help to symbolize good times with family?
  2. How does the speaker's family endure tougher times in the poem? Would those times be harder to get through without family? 
  3. Why does the speaker tell all children to remember good times at the end of the poem? 
  4. What's the point of having the speaker start out as a child and then later sound like an older woman? What has she learned about family by the end of the poem?

Chew on This

Family is most important in "good times" because bad times would be a whole lot tougher to get through without grandpa singing in the kitchen.

In Clifton's poem, family is the one thing that provides the greatest relief from bad times by just being there to support us no matter what.

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