Kitchenette Building Poem Summary and Analysis | LitCharts
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Kitchenette Building Summary & Analysis
by Gwendolyn Brooks

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"kitchenette building" was published in Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks's first collection, A Street in Bronzeville (1945). The poem is about the experience of Black Americans in Chicago in the 1940s, when racial discrimination forced many impoverished families into cramped and unsanitary housing units known as kitchenettes. Rooted in this historical context, "kitchenette building" presents a conflict between the hope of escaping poverty and the exhausting demands on day-to-day life that such poverty creates. Ultimately, the poem suggests that dreams for a better life simply can't survive in the conditions of the kitchenette building, which, in turn, create a perhaps inescapable cycle of poverty. Brooks vividly captures the ways dreams die under the monotonous and smothering conditions imposed by structural racism.

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