The Identity of Boys as Pool Players in the Poem, We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks

The poem We Real Cool involves a narrator commenting on several boys and their identity as pool players. The narrator, a player, and their friends seem to have given up on school, stay out late, and believe they will live a short life. It is most likely taking place by a pool table, so it could be a bar or a pool house, The Golden Shovel. The reference to gin (“We Thin Gin”) and pool players (“The Pool Players”) leads us to believe the poem is taking place at a bar.

The narrator appears to be a young man playing pool with his friends. Also during this time, the men stay out late and sin, meaning they most likely stay out late and drink.

The main poetic device in the poem is the use of repetition and rhyme. Repetition is used is nearly every line of the poem as Brooks begins each sentence with “We”. The poem also rhymes every line, for example sin and gin.

In addition, her sentences are all three words. Another poetic device would be the use of alliteration in each sentence. Alliteration is found in a few of the sentences with examples such as “Sing sin”, “Strike Straight”, and “Jazz June”. These sentences create the same sound at the beginning of the words.

The poem has a deeper meaning when examining the words. At the beginning, the players are presented as being “cool” as they drink and party. However, the poem ends on a rather sad note, saying that they will die soon.

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This leads me to believe the poem is a sarcastic take on Brook’s opinion on these pool players. They think they are too cool for school”, however they are not doing much with their lives, and instead spend their nights drinking and playing pool.

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The Identity of Boys as Pool Players in the Poem, We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks. (2022, May 09). Retrieved from

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