The poem describes the couple as aging and characterizes their living arrangement as ramshackle and their resources as scarce. They live quietly and keep to themselves, eating beans and getting by, gliding through their old age by distracting themselves with nostalgic thoughts.
The speaker of the poem takes on a dispassionate, airy tone; the rhythm, rhyme, and content of the poem communicate that the speaker is no stranger to people who live like this aging couple. The nonchalance of the speaker allows for the somberness of the couple's routine life to shine through because it mirrors the way in which the youth-obsessed society has brushed them aside.
The Bean Eaters Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Bean Eaters is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.