Analysis of We Real Cool
Introduction to Literature
Professor Mike Knowles
November 22, 2012
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. 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...
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