Literary Terms in “the Bean Eaters”

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Kimberly Armogan
Professor Hamm
Eng. 200 F2
03/07/12
Literary Terms in “The Bean Eaters”
Did you know Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African-American, male or female, to win the Pulitzer Prize (eNotes.com)? Brooks was born on June 7, 1917 and began to have an interest in poem early in her life. Her first poem was published at the age of thirteen in the American Childhood Magazine in 1930. Today she is known for having more than twenty books of poems published like “The Children Coming Home” (“Gwendolyn Brooks,”PoetsPath.com). In many of Brooks’s poems she uses many literary terms to elaborate more on the theme of her poems. One poem of hers called “The Bean Eaters” recounts how an old couple upholds their lives together. In the poem there is no mention of any friends or relatives of the couple that accompany them, but only their memories and their little possessions. Although they "eat beans mostly" and "dinner is a casual affair," they dine while recalling all their amusing and wonderful memories of the past (litmed.med.nyu.edu). In the poem “The Bean Eaters,” Brooks uses symbols and imagery to help her explore the theme of an elderly couple maintaining their existence. Brooks uses symbols to support her theme of an elderly couple maintaining their life. Symbols are something that represents or stands for something else. In the first line, Brooks starts out talking about the couple’s dining ways. “They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair” (“The Bean Eaters,” Brooks). Basically, Brooks is saying that the couple are not having the best meals in the world. The beans symbolize everything that the pair is missing in their lives, money-wise and socially like good food to eat. Instead, the couple makes do with what they have and they make it work for them. So in doing this, Brooks’s theme is supported by the symbol of beans because the couple carries on with their lives and they maintain it by being contented with the little they possess. Another symbol that...
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