This was one of Brooks' early poems, and describes life in a tenement on Chicago's South Side.
How does the title introduce the themes of the poem?
Who are the "we" in whose voice the poem is written? How would the poem differ if written in the "I" voice?
How does the speaker describe the tenement dwellers?
What is the "dream"? With what pressures does it have to contend?
What specific images of life in an ill-equipped apartment are evoked? What question is asked in the second and third stanzas, and is it answered?
In the final stanza, what unexpectedly interrupts the act of thinking of imaging? Is this stanza intended to be humorous or ironic?
What is the poem's final message?
"the preacher ruminates behind the sermon"
Why is this poem written in the voice of a preacher? What does the preacher imagine is lacking from God"'s life?
By implication, what does the poem claim is important for happiness? How do the final two stanzas describe the problems caused by remote and superior status?
Is this poem a comment on African-American religion? On standard ideas of God?
Why is the word "perhaps" used twice in the last stanza? What is emphasized in the last line?
Are there forms of irony in the poem? (the juxtaposition of opposites, a serious form of humor)
Compare this poem with Hughes' "Ma Lord." What point do both poets wish to make about religion as often conceived?
"the white troops had their orders but the Negroes looked like men"
Harry Truman officially ordered the desegregation i the U. S. Military in 1948 , although some forms of separation remained through the Korean War. A sonnet is a fourteen line poem with five stresses to a line.
What is meant by the title? How is it ironic?
Is this poem a sonnet? What topics are usually associated with the sonnet form? Why would Gwendolyn Brooks choose this form for a poem on the burial of corpses?
What are some unusual word choices for the poem's descriptions? Is it immediately clear what is being described?
What unpleasant aspect of the burial of the war dead is emphasized? In this context, what effect does this have on the outcome of eevnts?
Why does the poem end with a statement about the weather?
What is the tone of this poem? (bitterness? satisfaction? disgust? sadness?)