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Analysis of Gwendonly Brooks’ Books Essay

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Updated: Jan 3rd, 2022

Gwendoln Brooks’ has written many poems among them “The Bean Eaters”. This is a short poem of about thirteen lines with the main message as that of poverty and alienation. Everything about the old couple described in the poem, suggest poverty. The main dish for dinner is usually some beans which are taken from some chip ware and dinner is set on a simple old and creaking table made of woods. If the dinner was set for some affluent couple, the meal would have been better, the utensils and table used would have been expensive and magnificent. The kind of housing is simple, small and everything in it suggests that the couple gets very little income. As the speaker adds each line, it is a further description of the lifestyle the old couple seems to be leading. Simple life full of suffering due to lack of finances and basic needs. Their relationship to each other shows that they has accepted their state and live each day not wishing to improve on their lives. The poem has a resignation tone as we see the couple is only able to move on by sharing the memories probably when they were able to live to the fullest. They seem to have given up as we see they just live for each other and do not make an attempt to buy new items or clothing. They seem to live in their own world with no other people caring for them.

Her poem titled “The Lovers of the Poor” is aimed to communicate the theme of racism and poverty. It describes the smooth life led by the American women who are rich and liberated and lead hypocritical life. They pretend to be helping the poor but the truth is that they despise them and take advantage of them. The poem also shows the struggles that the young African American women go through yet they seem not to succeed. They have despaired and se no chances of getting their freedom or leading such lives as led by the American women. The African American are described to be living in distress and real poverty based on the description of the housing the environment and the lifestyle they lead. They are said to live in stinking places, the children are said to have heavy diapers due to lack of income to have plenty to change them. Everything around is old and unpleasant. The American women on the other hand seem to have too much money; they do not want to mix with the poor who are stinking while they are well scented and dressed in expensive lovely clothes. They seem to be enjoying good meals while the poor in the slums have nothing but porridge yet they form guild supposedly said to help the poor.

From the two poems, the blacks seem to be leading a life of poverty. The living quarters are not well cared for and seemingly they live in slums. The description of the clothing shows that they have been left with no other alternative but put on the tattered clothes. The children seems to be neglected which is evidenced in the poem ‘The Lovers of the Poor” in which we see them having heavy diapers and being fed on porridge meaning mot of them are underfed and may be suffering from health problems. In the poem “The Bean Eaters” it is clear that the old couples which symbolize the black Americans live mainly on a single diet which is unbalanced and they also live in poor housing.

Social classes and racism seem to be the major barrier to development especially evidenced in the poem “The Lovers of the Poor”. There is a big gap between the American Women and their black counterparts. They live in different worlds and lead different lifestyles. The rich are described to be avoiding the poor living quarters due to the poor condition surrounding the areas. Although they pretend to sympathize with them, they seemingly make no effort to help them move out of their poor stricken situation. The two poems show the struggles by blacks and the desperation they are living in as they cannot get out of their unpleasant situation.

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