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We Real Cool

We Real Cool


by Gwendolyn Brooks

We Real Cool Theme of Language and Communication

This poem is so full of music that we can easily imagine pool players reciting it while wearing sunglasses and snapping their fingers under soft, blue lighting. It's jazz…in a poem. The seductive rhythm and the use of alliteration and internal rhyme might cause us to feel more sympathetic toward the pool players. The poem also leads us to ask whether their portrayal is meant to be satirical, or whether the pool players might be trying to trick us into celebrating their lifestyle.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. What kind of jazz does this poem sound like to you? What instruments do you hear in your head?
  2. How do the vowel sounds progress throughout the poem?
  3. What is the attitude of the speaker toward the young men? How is this attitude conveyed?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"We Real Cool" reveals more about the attitudes of the speaker than it does about the pool players.

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