We Real Cool By Gwendolyn Brooks

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Poetry allows people to express ideas and get across messages in a unique way. Well-known known poet Gwendolyn Brooks wrote many poems during her lifetime. These poems include “We Real Cool” and “The Mother.” Alliteration and repetition are two examples of poetic devices used in these poems. As with many poets, the works of Gwendolyn were highly influenced by her life and the time she grew up in. Poet Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas on June 7, 1917. She died on December 3, 2000 at the age of 83 (Gwendolyn). Her father wanted to be a doctor, but, due to money problems, had no choice but to become a janitor. Her mother was a Sunday school teacher. At a young age, she was encouraged to pursue her love of writing poetry. For example, at age seven, her mother encouraged her to write. Langston Hughes, a famous poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist, read several of the poems she wrote, and encouraged her to pursue writing poetry as more than a pastime. Gwendolyn often wrote about being female and black in America because she could easily relate to that topic (“'We Real' Analysis”). This allowed her to go on to be the first African American woman to win the 1950 Pulitzer prize (“Gwendolyn”). “We Real Cool” is a poem about seven young men who skip school to go to a pool hall. At the pool hall, they participate in prohibited activities, such as gambling and drinking alcohol. They believe that engaging in such activities makes them “real cool.” Although the boys boast about participating in these activities they seem to realize that they are not really cool at all and they will die soon because of their improprieties. Alliteration is a poetic device used in the poem. “Lurk late” (3), “sing sin” (5), “jazz... ... middle of paper ... ...ems, the choices made by the characters can be controversial. In “We Real Cool”, one could argue that the boys had a choice whether or not to skip school to go to the pool hall. Concerning “The Mother”, some people might say that abortion is wrong and the mother in the poem should not have had an abortion regardless of her problems. As with many poets, the works of Gwendolyn were highly influenced by her life and the time she grew up in. The poems discussed are connected in that they both deal with people who are poor making decisions. They both discuss issues that are as relevant today as they were when she first wrote them. Perhaps one day, the need to discuss the differences in socioeconomic situations will be irrelevant as people will have the same choices no matter what their situation. Then again, if that was true, these great poems may have never come about.
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