kitchenette building

by Gwendolyn Brooks

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Dreams & Realities

Step 1

Show the students a picture of a kitchenette. Ask them what they think life was like living in such a place, and how living in this place would affect one’s mentality and dreams. Then discuss.

Step 2

Read “kitchenette building” by Gwendolyn Brooks. As they’re reading, ask them to see how she feels about living in such a space and how it affects the dreams that she holds.

Step 3

Have the students brainstorm a list of places where they feel trapped or confined. Give them between 5-10 minutes. Then have them discuss where those places are and why.

Step 4

Have the students write a poem in which they, like Brooks, discuss living in a “confined” space and how it affects them, particularly the dreams that they have for themselves.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Imagery

Step 1

If your students are not familiar with the concept of “imagery,” go through the introductory lesson.

Step 2

Show them the following picture and briefly discuss what it would be like living in such a space, particularly on one’s self esteem and psyche.

Step 3

Read “Kitchenette Building” by Gwendolyn Brooks. When you’re done reading it, discuss how she feels about her circumstances, particularly how they affect her dreams.

Step 4

Ask the students if any particular images stood out, ones that help convey her complex feelings. Briefly discuss.

Step 5

Have the students work in the following document to analyze the juxtaposing imagery throughout the poem and how those contradicting images convey Brooks’ message. Directions can be found at the top of the page.

Step 6

When the students are done, have them share their responses. Then share the exemplar essay with them.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Imagery


  • Class
  • Economy
  • Food / Hunger
  • History
  • Home / Homelessness

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Tone