Analysis of We Real Cool Poem by Gwendolyn Brooks

We Real Good Poem Analysis

“We Real Cool” is a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, first published in her 1960 collection The Bean Eaters. The poem describes a group of teenagers hanging out outside of a pool hall.

Effect of dividing the sentences into lines

Lines are the building blocks of the poem. They enable the reader to take keen interest in each word; even words that may have been ignored. Dividing the sentences into lines affects the sound of the poem so that the reader pauses slightly at the end of each line (Ferguson et al, 2005). Breaking lines also slows down the speed of reading the poem. Dividing the lines also makes the poem look light – there is a lot of white space between sentences.

What is the effect of starting each new sentence at the end of each line?

Starting each sentence at the end of each line emphasizes the word at the beginning of the sentence. For instance, the word “We” begins every sentence and is placed at the end of each line. So, the word “We” is emphasized to show that the poet is referring to the entire group of pool players. As one pauses at the end of each line, the “We” is emphasized. It also emphasizes the meaning of each sentence (Ochoa, 2014). It also enhances rhythm and musicality of each sentence because the word “We” is emphasized at the break of every line.

Poetic devices used to unify and build intensity of the lines

There are various things the pool players boast about that result in cumulative effect. These things use various stylistic and poetic devices to build the intensity of the lines. One of the stylistic devices that can be identified is repetition. The word “We” is repeated at the end of each line and the beginning of each sentence to build the intensity and unity of lines. The word indicates that the pool players boast about themselves, and this is emphasized by repeating the same word in each line.

Another poetic device used to unify and build intensity in the lines is rhyme. The first set of rhyming words is cool and school. This emphasizes that the pool players boast about leaving school because it has made them cool. Other rhymes that intensify and unify lines in the poem are: late and straight, sin and gin, June and soon. Another poetic device is alliteration. Alliteration is repetition of two or more stressed syllables (Ochoa, 2014). For instance, the words strike and straight in line four of the poem alliterate. Other alliterations include sing and sin. Another poetic device is consonance – the repetition of a consonant sound, e.g. Jazz and June in the second last line of the poem

Effect of deliberate rhyme scheme

The rhyme scheme described above is deliberate and has the effect of stressing the words the words that intensify boasting among the pool players. The rhyming words make the poem fun, enjoyable, and easy to understand the theme of the poem (Ferguson et al, 2005). The words that rhyme in the poem are those that stress what the pool players are boasting about. For instance, they boast of being cool for leaving school, being late to strike straight and committing sin to become gin. The addition of “We” at the end of the line links the stressed words to the characters, making it even easier to follow and stresses the boastful nature of the pool players.

Effect of lacking We and the third beat at the last line

The effect that is created by omitting We in the last line is that it brings the reader to the end of the poem in a low tone. The reader always pauses towards the end of a sentences, and if the word We is omitted, then the reader ends the poem in a low tone to show the end of the poem. It shows that there is nothing more to be expected of the pool players as they will die soon.


References list

Ferguson, M., Salter, M.J. and Stallworthy, J. (2005). The Norton Anthology of Poetry. New         York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Ochoa, S. (2014). Repetition in Poetry: The Many Ways to Create Poetic Intensity. Accessed         May 20, 2014 from

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