A Reckless Time of the Civil Rights Movement in We Real Cool

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

The work of American poet Gwendolyn Brooks is influenced by the circumstances and experiences of the Civil Rights Movement (Brooks and Gayles 4). The Movement involved segregation among the Caucasian community and the African Americans. A prime example was the case of Brown v. Board of Education, in 1958, the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to segregate schools (Jackson 119). Nevertheless, desegregation was not working quickly for the African American community and they became frustrated. The story behind this poem, “We Real Cool,” was develop during the rebellion era, where young men figuring out their identity in the society. Young gentlemen hanging around in the hollows of the street life. The poet uses simple language tone, rhythm and line structure, and rhyme in “We Real Cool” to convey the struggle of reckless young teenagers who will eventually suffer the unfortunate probability that their lifestyle of the streets – death.The “We” in “We Real Cool” sets the tone of the poem. The simple language suggests one of defiance and rebellion allegiance in the group.

The players prefer pool to attending school. The poet portrays a sense of sadness in the lives of one supposedly being “cool.” There is a sense of uncertainty lifestyle of these players is questionable. The players attitude emerges in the verses, a weakened condition being lost in the world. This is what develops and grows as the central attitude in the poem. Furthermore, it underlines how young individuals can be apparent in a world where such voice is not easily heard. In all, the diction of the lines is of pure street speech. One thing remains, the poet upholds a non-judgmental attitude. The description of the language or words are straightforward and allows one to draw their own assumptions. The purpose of the rhythm, is to prolong the moment of contemplation, the moment of imaginative construction (Whitworth 146). The beat of the poem starts with an exciting title of “We Real Cool,” which reads like the lyrics of a jazz melody. The arrangements of the words portray an uneven distribution of the pace. Furthermore, the preparations of the words lend itself to uninhabited blows of creativeness.

As one read the stanza in poem, the poet stresses “We real cool. We / Left school. We” (lines 1-2), as a sarcastic murmur. The mocking voice is implying a sense of leaving school is not a good idea. As one continues to read the aloud, the magnet of the rhythm can lead to justifying the reasons the gentlemen left school. From the start to end, the poem is embedded with the vibrant jazz tempo in its very structure. The poem’s strong point, beauty, and authority is ingrained in its effective use of line breaks. The strategic choice of words addresses the use of strong character by adding the “we” at the end of the line. Each stanza purposely does not end with a complete sentence. Instead, the thought moves on to the next verse, “Luck late. We / Strike straight. We” (lines 5 and 6). One might ask, by placing the “we” sentences on the same line (We real cool. We left school. We lurk late.) to measure if the same effect would display. How would the pool players be described, or the elements of the poem lose the authentic construction?


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