Compare & Contrast Essay

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Shane Smith
Professor Samuels
English 102, Section 13
18 October 2012

Compare & Contrast Essay

The 1960’s was a carefree time period, a time when the “hippy” lifestyle was considered the norm. A time when the youth were often the voice, citizens were dedicated to bringing peace to the United States, the abolishment of segregation was occurring, and the Vietnam War had just begun. The poems I analyzed were both written in the early 1960’s, when segregation finally came to an end. Gwendolyn Brooks portrays the “carefree” lifestyle in her poem, “We Real Cool.” Brooks being an African American woman surprised me, because her focus was not on the current major topic of segregation, whereas in contrast, Bob Dylan being Caucasian chose to focus on segregation in his poem/song, “The Times They Are a-Changin.” The irony in the poem’s I read, is the contrast between ethnicity of the poet’s, to their chosen topics. During the time the two poems were written, is when the African American people rose against segregation. The poem “We Real Cool,” is an open form poem wrote in 1960 by an African American author, Gwendolyn Brooks. Based on her ethnicity and the date of the poem, the reader would intend the topic to be based around the Civil Rights Movement. At the time Brooks wrote her poem she was in her early forties and the reader would believe her concern for segregation had lessened. Since 1917 Brooks had saw countless occasions of segregation, considering the fact that she had attended an all-black high school. She focused on the new occurring change, the change in attitude of teenagers at that time. Gwendolyn Brooks discovered the topic of her poem while walking by a pool hall. She discovered seven young men playing pool, drinking, cursing and having no worries. Brooks was disgusted at the sight of the younger generation not attending school and having no ambition to move on in life. Brooks was aware that there was a drug epidemic going on at the time...
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