The lifestyle of many inner city Black youths often leads to death and destruction. This destruction can be an internal personal destruction of the individual or it can be the harsh victimization of innocent people. The death of inner city urban Black youths is a fact of urban gang life, while escape for the lifestyle to most seems impossible.
The lifestyle of many urban inner city Black youths often leads to death and destruction. This destruction can be an internal personal destruction or the harsh victimization of innocent people (National, Section 11).
The death of urban inner city Black youths is a fact of urban gang life that is a close and constant threat (National, Section III). Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks, the first Black American poet to receive a Pulitzer Prize (Encyclopedia, 2000), spent her life writing poems about Black life in the urban inner city. Ms. Brooks poem We Real Cool. The Pool Players, Seven at the Golden Shovel (Paul, 1998, p.654) is a brief view of a black urban inner city youths theory on life.
The poem is an iambic mixed meter short poem made up of four two-line epigrammatic couplets. The first line is a quadameter, while the second through the seventh lines are trimeters, and the last line is a bimeter. The rhythm function is emphasized by the use of a masculine element of rhythm, as in lines five and six, Sing Sin and Thin gin.
Ms. Brooks wrote almost entirely about the plight of inner city black youths in American cities (Encarta-Brooks, 1998), many of her writings was written using Pidgin English, also known as Ebonics (Landrum, 1998) to express the feelings of the speaker.
In We Real Cool, the speaker speaks entirely in Ebonics while using metaphors to symbolize his true meaning. Yet through his phrasing the reader is able to understand his plight and feel his pain.
We Die soon (1.9) is an expression by the speaker of his self-revelation that his current lifestyle will result in his ultimate demise. The speaker is not expressing grief or sorrow at his demise, only an understanding of lifes pending events. The speaker is placing his own death as the price he will pay for being real cool (1.1).
What does it mean to be real cool? Being cool for an urban inner city Black youth is to, as stated in the poem, drop out of school. After leaving school the activity of choice would be a pool playerat the golden shovel (Title).
We strike straight (II. 3-4) as pool or billiard ball player would refer to the ability straight pool (EncartaBilliards, 1998)in which the object of the game is to use a cue ball to strike a series of balls and make the balls fall in pocket on a billiard table. Striking the cue ball, in such a fashion as to travel straight along a predicted course. This course would cause the cue ball to strike its intended target ball at the planned angle, which would cause the target ball to follow an intended course.
However, the meaning of We strike straight could also be construed to mean that they also attack and victimize others. Lines 4 and 5, which say We Sing sin, support this. There is a revelation in the celebration of sin. While there is a celebration of the sin they have committed, there is also a remorse felt. The consumption of alcohol expressed in the simile We Thin gin (11.5-6) and the metaphor We Jazz June is an attempt to suppresses the feeling of remorse. While the celebration of drink and song continue, the every present specter of death lurks near.
The lifestyle of many urban inner city Black youths often leads to death and destruction. We Real Cool is an attempt by the speaker to speaker of the cycle of life and death in for the urban inner city Black youths. The destruction that happens is seen and understood by the youths. But the choice made, even with the revelation of the pending and ultimate outcome of death, does not alter the events of life in the urban inner city for black youths.
Encarta Encyclopedia (1998). Billiards. Microsoft Redmond, WA: Retrieved from Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99 (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99, CD-ROM, 1998 release).
Encarta Encyclopedia (1998). Brooks, Gwendolyn Elizabeth. Microsoft Redmond, WA: Retrieved from Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99 (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99, CD-ROM, 1998 release).
Encyclopedia Britannica (2000). Brooks, Gwendolyn. britannica.com [Online], Retrieved January 21, 2001, from the World Wide Web: http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/ 6/0,5716,16886+1+16643,00.html?query=gwendolyn%20elizabeth%20brooks.
Landrum-Brown, J. (1998). Black English. University of Illinois, [Online], Retrieved January 19, 2001, from the World Wide Web: http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/- jlandrum/BlkEng.html.
National Alliance of Gang Investigators’ Associations (2000). The National Gang Threat Assessment. nagia.org, [Online], Retrieved January 20, 2001, from the World Wide Web: http://www.nagia.org/national_gang_threat_assessment.htm
Paul J. and Hunter B. (Eds.). (1998). The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York: Norton.