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The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Short Poem Analysis

"We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks is a concise and impactful poem that offers a glimpse into the lives of a group of young people who are seemingly carefree and rebellious. Through its unique structure, sparse language, and rhythmic cadence, the poem captures the bravado and vulnerability of its subjects.

The title, "We Real Cool," immediately sets a tone of defiance and self-assuredness. The use of the word "we" suggests a sense of unity and solidarity among the group of young individuals.

The poem's brevity is reflected in its structure, consisting of a series of short and fragmented lines. This structure creates a sense of urgency and mirrors the fast-paced lives of the characters.

Brooks employs enjambment, allowing lines to flow into each other without traditional punctuation. This creates a fluid and rhythmic quality, echoing the fast and rebellious lifestyle of the characters.

The poem's opening line, "We real cool. We / Left school," captures the speaker's sense of independence and rebellion. The deliberate omission of the verb "are" suggests a casual attitude, emphasizing the carefree nature of their actions.

The repetition of the word "We" in each line underscores the group identity and camaraderie among the characters. However, the repetition of the word "We" also serves as a reminder of their collective decision to act recklessly.

The poem's final line, "We Die soon," introduces a stark contrast to the previous lines. This abrupt ending suggests the consequences of their actions and the potential tragedy that awaits them.

"We Real Cool" is a thought-provoking commentary on youth culture, peer pressure, and the allure of rebellion. Through its minimalist language and rhythmic structure, the poem captures the bravado and fragility of young lives lived on the edge. It raises questions about the choices young people make, the impact of their decisions, and the underlying vulnerabilities masked by a façade of confidence.

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