Literary Techniques In “We Real Cool“
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Literary Techniques in “We Real Cool”
Gwendolyn Brooks uses literary techniques such as dialect, ironic point of view, and syntax to accentuate the theme and persona in “We Real Cool.”
The speaker, or persona, in “We Real Cool” has a black dialect. This dialect is used to characterize the group of pool players at the Golden Shovel. In the phrase “We real cool,” (1) the verb is omitted, which accentuates the pool players’ lack of education.
The pool players’ view of themselves and their actions differs from that of Gwendolyn Brooks. This ironic point of view is used to convey that although the pool players believe they are living it up, their lives are actually going nowhere. If Gwendolyn Brooks felt the same way as they do, their lives would appear more glorious to the reader.
In the poem, syntax is used to further depict the attitude of the pool players. The abnormal ordering of the words emphasizes the feeling of unity among them. For example, when “Left school. We” (2) is read, the word “we” stands out, and the pool players’ togetherness is understood. When the last line “Die soon” stands alone, the reader senses that each pool player is alone once he or she dies.
Because of Gwendolyn’s use of these literary techniques, readers understand the theme of her poem: Even though following the carefree crowd appears seems to be the right path, it usually ends in a meaningless and lonely life....
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