We Real Cool

773 Words4 Pages
In “We Real Cool,” Gwendolyn Brooks utilizes a series of internal rhymes in her fairly short and simple poem. The rhyming structure consists of: AA BB CC DD, however, she decides to end each line with “We” rather than the rhymes’ end words. This breaks up the flow of the poem and places more emphasis on each “We” as the line break causes a run-on pause. Instead of “We real cool./ We left school./” the writer fragments the natural flow of each phrase by writing the lines as “We real cool. We/ Left school.” I assume by setting up the poem’s structure in this way, the writer intended to isolate each “We,” allowing the pronoun to resonate a little longer in the reader’s mind or speech. When read aloud, the poem’s three word lines and rhyming patterns make the piece sound almost like a chant. The creed-like nature of the poem reflects on the subject, which is presumably a gang or group of young men. With that said, the subject is viewed as exclusive and united. The varied stanza structure that increases the emphasis allocated to each “We” creates an even stronger sense of unity between the group members. Inferring on the motives of the writing, it seems as if she wants to shed her subject in a cultish light. As the poem progresses the consistent line structure builds up a repetitive flow. The pattern is abruptly abandoned on the last line …We/ Die soon.” This ending leaves the last line bare as the rolling chant comes to a halt. Similar to how the pauses after each “We” created a resonating pause, the same can be said of the poem’s end. The writer leaves the reader with a harsh and startling attribute of the subject, which allows the sad line to echo in the reader’s mind. When read aloud, the last line sounds as if it is a premature ending to the poem, which mimics the premature ending to the lives of the young men in the gang. When reading through an anthology
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