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We Real Cool By Gwendolyn Brooks

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Running head: WE REAL COOL BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS 1
We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks
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WE REAL COOL BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS 2
The poem, “We Real cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks is short but poignant narrative
characterized by staccato lines as well as rhyming patterns that take it to a crisp and startling
ending. With just eight lines in length, the poem is based on the thoughts of random young
adults playing pool in “The Golden Shovel” (Brooks, 1959). From a readers view, the young
guys are probably school drop outs, enjoying jazz, drinking grin and staying late at night. The
poem is filled with symbols of youth, music and pool players.
The use of the word “Golden” in the subtitle symbolizes money, youthfulness, and
sunshine. In spite of the oblivious implication that the young adults are up to nothing good, the
poem reminds the reader of their own naughty youths and boring summers they probably spent
in video games. However, there is somewhat a portentous aspect of these guys who “… lurk
late” and “strike straight” (Brooks, 1959). The month of June is used to symbolize a polite and
non-controversial society.
The poem is, however, filled with rhythms and themes of jazz as it frequently makes use
of alliteration which usually has a percussive effect like jazz. In addition, the pool players know
a little bit of jazz as they “Sing Sin” and “Jazz June” (Brooks & Gayles, 2003). Finally, the use
of “Pool Players” symbolizes a mix of insecure but rebellious youths who seek attention but at
the same time seem like they do not care. The frequent use of “We” underpins their solidarity
and identity in the face of social hurdles. The symbols combine together in harmony to create the
overall meaning and themes of the poem; pride, identity, and mortality.

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Running head: WE REAL COOL BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks Name Institution Date 1 WE REAL COOL BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS 2 The poem, “We Real cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks is short but poignant narrative characterized by staccato lines as well as rhyming patterns that take it to a crisp and startling ending. With just eight lines in length, the poem is based on the thoughts of random young adults playing pool in “The Golden Shovel” (Brooks, 1959). From a readers view, the young guys are probably school drop outs, enjoying jazz, drinking grin and staying late at night. The poem is filled with symbols of youth, music and pool players. The use of the word “Golden” in the subtitle symbolizes money, youthfulness, and sunshine. In spite of the oblivious implication that the young adults are up to nothing good, the poem reminds the reader of their own naughty youth ...
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