“We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks – Poetry Analysis

In her quest to succinctly express life in American ghetto housing projects, Gwendolyn Brooks writes “We Real Cool”. Although the author is very economical with words, this short poem still manages to express the desperation in the lives of young rebellious youth. The author uses the stress and syntax to create a sense of rhythm that would go a long way allowing the reader to comprehend fully the nature of the conditions that the youngsters have to endure. In the 8 lines that the author pens down, the life of this group of individuals is expressed in pinpoint accuracy. The author extensively makes use of rhyme to depict the lives of these lone gang members. For instance, “sin/gin” and “cool/school” serve as the best examples of a combination of internal and end rhyme to further the poem’s rhetoric. It is also worth acknowledging that the author repeats the word “we” on six different occasions while narrating poem. By so doing, she expresses the brotherhood that exists within members of this group even during adversity. To accurately depict the attitudes of the said persons, the poet uses a defiant tone. Members of this particular group have pledged allegiance to it and live life according to their own rules. Dropping out of school and drinking alcohol until late hours of the night, therefore, become commonplace. Additionally, the author seeks to aid the reader to understand the chaos present in the lives of these teens by mixing short and long vowels. The result of this ingenious stylistic device is a passionate verbal experience for those reading it. From the onset, it is clear that the title of the poem is lengthy, even though it is contrasted with revert vowels such as sin, thin and gin.


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