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Brooks’ selection of single syllable words helps set the rhythm of a jazz mood. The monosyllable words provide a rhythmical tool for generating a snappy beat to her tale. Her repetition of rhyming words close together adds unity to the poem. By placing the one syllable words close together: “cool / school” (1-2) and “sin / gin” (5-6), it emphases each word. The feelings and imagery are clear in this poem. The rhyming lines in her verse contain only three words, and it keeps the poem’s rhythm moving. The short verse makes it easy to remember. The short lines speed it up, but the sound on each stop really stands out. Only the subtitle is longer, which Brooks utilizes to encompass the setting. Her careful use of short words keeps the beat and describes what the boys are doing, like leaving school, or staying out late. These simple
words represent the gang’s lack of language skills. This symbolizes uneducated boys talking. She does it with such vivid verse and ethnic slang that it gives this poem a unique style.
Brooks employs more than one rhyming device. She exercises end rhyme in the poem. Brooks’ words rhyme at the end of each sentence. Often in rhymes, the sentence ends with the rhyming word, but not here. The poem’s sentences end in the middle of the line, because Brooks chose to create a metrical pause or caesura. The repetition of “We” at the end, helps to keep the audience focus on the gang. Brooks applies internal rhyme before the end. “We / Sing in. We / Thin gin” (5-6) shows internal rhyme. The gang is proud and boasting about their lives. This conjures up visions of the boys bad choices, but it also helps you see the connection in the lines.
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Brooks’ selection of words shows her skillful talent at mastering rhyme. The choice of words she uses creates an exceptional image of rebel teens. The rhyming words are close together, and it makes the image much stronger. We need to understand the language she is using before we can really appreciate it. The slang people spoke back then is not the same slang we have today. Words meanings often change over the years, but her poem is still valid after all these years. This poem uses a complexity of rhyme and demonstrates a skillful selection of words. This poem sends a serious message to those who blow off school but it does not sound demanding. Brooks wants her poems to be heard, not just read.