The poem “We Real Cool” was written in the 1960’s by the poet Gwendolyn Brooks. This poem illustrates the quintessence of seven troubled adolescents who will eventually succumb to the unfortunate likelihood that life can render a young Africa American male living the life in the fast lane during that era. “We Real Cool” is an interpretation of a group of young men Gwendolyn saw in a pool hall. She stated that “I wondered how they felt about themselves, and I decided that they felt they were not quite valid, that they certainly were insecure, they were not cherished by the society, and therefore they would feel that they should, well, spit in the face of the establishment”.
This eight line twenty four word poem maybe short but its title immediately grabs the reader’s attention. The title “We Real Cool” can also be misleading because it can make the reader believe that this poem is about a group of young teenagers who are auspicious and living a ostentatious lifestyle. The poem describes the behaviors of seven urban African American youths in a pool hall in Chicago. The three elements that interest me the most are the language, form and the content. The language displayed in this poem is straightforward and is the key element in the poem to understanding its theme. The metaphors used in this poem, breaks the rules of the more conventional type speaking, for example instead of Brooks saying “We are real cool” she uses “We real cool” to give the poem a more modern urban type of slang which was used more often in Chicago in the 1960’s. Metaphors such as “We real cool” have the connotation to represent the young African American boys in the pool hall but it can also represent all boys that age.
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The use of metaphors in this poem allows her targeted readers to relate to her words because it speaks their language. Not to say that when she wrote this poem she only meant for young African American boys who are on the verge of dropping out of school and living life in the fast lane to read it, but the use of the metaphorical slang helps them to relate and understand her message to them. Growing up in an area similar to what Gwendolyn Brooks talks about allowed me to be able to relate to her every word. Being able to relate I was able to close my eyes and create an image of the pool players in the pool hall and some of the things I did as a young African American boy growing up in a poverty stricken area. I was able to relate to being a young man trying to find ways to be and look cool not knowing what the future would hold for me and part of me not caring, kind of like the pool players who was “aware of their mortal limitations (“We die soon”) but immune to social criticism”. The form of the poem has a rhythmic and rhymes feel to it.
The line break the poet uses throughout the poem gives it a smooth jazz sound. It’s tough to identify the meter in the poem because of the pause after the word “We”. The pause is there to allow the readers to understand the validity of what the boys are going to say next. For example “We….Left school”. After listening to her recite it with the pause I tried to recite it without the pause and it didn’t have the same rhythm or rhyme. There are some people who have interpretation of this poem being an example of a rap song after hearing it.
Readers would perhaps enjoy listening to Gwendolyn Brooks recite the poem before they actually read it for the first time in order to be able to understand the rhythm she created for it. When reading it for the first time without listening to it readers would have a hard time understanding the rhythm she created for it and it might not give the readers the true feeling of the poem. This poem has great significance behind it. Even though some readers might not have been able to grasp some of the slang used by Gwendolyn Brooks in this poem, I feel that it definitely sent a message to the ones who can relate and that’s “live fast die young”.
Death is something that every person will have to deal with at some point in his or her life. The poems 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Nothing Gold Can Stay' both deal with the concept of death, but in very different ways. They provide views of what death can be like from opposite ends of the proverbial spectrum. Death can be a very hard thing to experience, and the emotions that it evokes can be ...