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The Bean Eaters

The Bean Eaters

by Gwendolyn Brooks

The Bean Eaters Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

You could think of this poem as an invitation to the dinner of this couple. And dinner is a casual affair, remember? Maybe that's why this poem doesn't have any organized meter.That's not to say th...

Speaker

Our speaker manages to maintain a bit of distance from her subjects – she's not the sort to pry into their private lies, giving us all the juicy details of their scandals and sorrows in order...

Setting

An old back room filled with clutter? That's not usually the stuff that poems are made of, is it? Well, if you happen to be cataloging the lives of two elderly people living in poverty, it turns ou...

Sound Check

We've got to say, this poem sounds a lot like a museum guide taking us through dioramas of modern life. Sure, it's full of imagery, but it uses easy language and no overt figurative language. It's...

What's Up With the Title?

Calling this poem "The Bean Eaters" allows it to work in two interesting (and very different) ways at the same time. Here's what we mean:We instantly know how to characterize the people that Brooks...

Calling Card

Brooks doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to depicting the lives of underprivileged people. It's not all that pretty. Even though these two people have their memories to keep them company,...

Tough-O-Meter

Let's face it – this poem is pretty much a walk in the park. OK, it's not so full of balloons and ice cream as your normal park, but it's still pretty easy to wander through. Our speaker lays...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

Two old people eating dinner? Not exactly a recipe for steaminess. Sorry, folks.

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