Death And We Real Cool Essay

1077 words - 4 pages

Death and We Real Cool

"The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work" (Proverbs 21:25). The Bible makes a very clear statement in this passage as to how being lazy can be the cause of one’s death. "We Real Cool" is about seven African-American high school dropouts who want everybody else to think that they are cool. These teenagers explain how they stay out late playing pool, fighting, sinning and drinking. Though they think they have everybody else fooled, they know themselves that the destructive behavior they are taking part in will lead to their death. In "We Real Cool," Gwendolyn Brooks uses denotation and sound devices to suggest that although some African-Americans may often think of themselves as being cool for dropping out of school, they know in truth that dropping out will give them time to engage in sinful activities which will result in a broken, short life.

Brooks uses denotation to suggest that although some African-Americans may often think of themselves as being cool for dropping out of school they know in reality that dropping out will give them time to engage in sinful activities which will result in a broken, short life. "We real cool. We / Left school" (Lines 1-2). This explains how these African-American teenagers think that they are cool because they dropped out of high school. "We / Lurk late" (3-4). The facts that they lurk late just aids in understanding that these teenagers are dropouts because otherwise they would not be out as late. Not only are these young African-Americans dropouts who stay out late at night, they also get into fights. We / Strike straight" (3-4). While staying out late because they are dropouts, the teenagers talked about in this poem are into drinking alcohol, "We / Thin gin" (5-6). Although these young African-Americans think of themselves as being cool because they dropped out of school, stay out late fighting and drinking, they know that all of the immoral things they are taking part of will lead to their death quickly, "We / Die soon" (7-8). The ingenious way Brooks uses denotation in this poem helps explain that although some African-American teenagers may often think of themselves as being cool for dropping out of school, staying out late, fighting, and drinking they know in actuality that these corrupt things they are taking part of will lead to a broken, shortened life.

Brooks uses sound devices to suggest that although some African-Americans may often think of themselves as being cool for dropping out of school, which gives them time to engage in sinful activities will inevitably result in a broken, short life. Brooks uses pauses in the middle of lines called cesura’s to aid in helping the audience see how the brokenness of ideas and sound contributes to the brokenness felt by these African-American teenagers.


Lurk late. We

Strike straight.

Here, in lines 5-6, it is obvious when read how the brokenness in the...

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