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We Real Cool

We Real Cool


by Gwendolyn Brooks

Stanza II Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 3-4

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

  • The guys stay out late and they're also a mean bunch of pool players who can shoot a ball "straight" into the pocket almost every time.
  • The two words that begin these lines, "lurk" and "strike," make the boys sound like jungle cats or some other predator from a National Geographic nature series.
  • You could interpret these words as having sexual overtones, as young guys might "lurk" in places where they might see pretty girls walking past.
  • Their late-night habits could also suggest that they are involved in some shady business around town, although we should always be careful to not simply fall back on stereotypes of inner-city life when reading this poem.
  • The fact that they hang out "late" means they probably don't have regular jobs.
  • (Otherwise they would need to wake up early.)
  • They clearly have spent a lot of time practicing pool to develop that "straight" shot.

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