Interpretation of the Poem “We Real Cool” by Catherine Brooks
From the title of the poem, the readers were given a hint of what could be the tone of the poem when after reading, could be categorized as slang. Slang languages are often incorporated in conversations by mostly young people. The rhythm of the poem sounds also slang; it even sounds hip-hop, or some language that is prevalently used in the streets. Even the choice of words like “gin” and “jazz” connote that this is the language of the youth—the delinquent kind of youth. Using popular words or phrases are often employed by parents to relate more to their teenagers.
They think this would help their relationship, but they are mistaken. If they would use popular words, they would sound contrived. As for the youth, that seems that their parents are up to something that has something to do with them being themselves—being kids, licensed to commit mistakes. This is the same case for the poem “We Real Cool. ” The message is… cute and noble in intentions like its message about the importance of education “We real cool. We / Left school. ” But still, the poem sounds like a strict parent pretending to sound hip to trick youths to listen to what it wants to preach.
The first lines of the poem suggest to us that the author could have observed seven individuals playing pool at some place called “The Golden Shovel. ” That assumption could be supported by the fact that those first lines seems to be detached to the bulk of the poem—the lines ending in “We. ” Those lines could be interpreted in two different ways. First is that the persona is placing herself in the shoes of the youths—that she belongs to their culture; or the persona was also a youth but from another culture and observing from that vantage point.
The second interpretation would suggest that the persona is criticizing delinquent youths in a subtle and sarcastic way. It could also be pointed out that the persona is using or mimicking their language as a form of mockery. This poem is clearly a criticism of the delinquency of youths. I had realized that neither of the interpretations that I had come up is defending the youth in this case. The first interpretation would still be anti-youth. This would be best described in the last line of the poem: “we / die soon.
” It seems that the author also has a problem with the youth being aggressive that is displayed in the lines: “We/ Lurk late. We / Strike straight” Isn’t what professionals are told to do in their jobs: be aggressive! Grab the chance! Seize the opportunity. Parents seem to always contradict themselves. There is definitely no chance in hell that a delinquent youth had written this poem. This poem is definitely in the tone of conservative people in the guise of the language of the youth. This reminds of the character Ted Flanders of the Simpson’s when he is struggling in language when he is talking Bart.
This is undeniably one of the best short poems with the nobles of intentions—however, this would only cater to the taste of those belonging to the academe, something for them to study. The failure of the poem is that it is not targeted to what it claims to be the problem, the delinquent youth. This wouldn’t cater to any delinquent youths of any generation. Even at the fist lines, the delinquent youths were set apart as if the are some kind disease in the society. And most notable of all, after reading the whole poem, the title “We Real Cool” sounds more like a mockery rather than a concern.Sample Essay of PapersMart.net