Gwendolyn Brooks We Real Cool Analysis

Decent Essays
Eight lines, eight lines is the length of the poem “We Real Cool,” but it is loaded with literary devices to help convey an underlining meaning. This poem written by Gwendolyn Brooks was published in 1960. The title is ironic because it presumes to be about a group of people and their flamboyant, cool lifestyle, but the poem explains that this lifestyle ultimately leads to a dead end. It is also interesting to note that the vowel sounds of the title and the first line go from high to middle to low. This poem describes seven pool players who skip school to do things they consider to be cool, but it ends with “We / Die soon” leaving the reader to reflect on whether living this cool lifestyle is worth it (lines 7-8). Brooks uses the techniques…show more content…
Her poem is classified as a lyrical poem because of its music-like rhythm and emotional evoking effects. Her poem is four stanzas long each with two line couplets; however, the rhyme and sentence break are in the middle of each line. This abnormal structure combined with the fact that every word is only one syllable creates a regular meter that contains three beats and a pause. This beat is lively and cheerful showing the enjoyment of the pool players, but combined with the shortness of the poem, their lives are shown to be short if they keep living this way. The pool players may be trying to live life to the fullest as though they may die tomorrow, but Brooks shows that this way of life is in the end not cool by making a reference to death. The thought of death contributes to the theme of mortality and the unique use of rhyme creates a beat that helps relay Brooks’…show more content…
It is described in the subtitle that the seven pool players are at the Golden Shovel, which can inferred to be a pool room. Pool rooms are typically dimly lit and is ironic that this pool room is named golden which is seen as bright and symbolizes summer, youth, and daytime. It is also ironic that the pool players are described to have aimless lives, which is anything but golden. A shovel is symbolic of hard work and manual labor, but the pool players are ironically described to not be hard working. After reading the last line, shovel can be seen to be symbolic of grave digging, which exemplifies the theme of mortality. Another symbol is the number of pool players. Seven is considered a lucky number in gambling and is very likely that gambling was taking place in this pool room. The number seven also symbolizes the seven deadly sins alluding to the Bible. Brooks also intentionally makes the grammar mistake of not using the verb “are” in the title and first line. This grammatical error is symbolic of the pool players not being in school. Brooks’ use symbolism throughout her poem helps convey her message and strengthen her argument. Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool” may be a very short poem, but has an complex, enlightened meaning and purpose. This poem was published during a time of expression and confusion, but Brooks tries to guide the youth along the right path in her
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