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Word Count: 709
Both poetry and prose employ language as their means of transmitting their messages and their themes In prose the language tends to lie in the background serving to transparently provide a window into the world it portrays and the meaning the passage contains Poetry however as can be seen in We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks uses the language itself as the means to express the content and significance of the work Written in 1960 Brooks most likely intended for this poem to reflect the attitudes of African American youth of the time who decided to drop out of school and pursue a life of deviant behavior In We Real Cool Brooks uses line structure and rhythm simple and smooth diction which reveal tone and rhyme to convey her thoughts on the uncertainties that the subjects of the poem feel about themselves and their coolness The structure of the lines of We Real Cool repeatedly begins with the action predicate of the sentence and ends with the subject of the following sentence We This serves to emphasize how the poem should be read The We in each sentence is not meant to have as much significance as the actual action of the sentence Each line consists of two strong beats and then a final unstressed beat This rhythm provides insight into the minds of the speakers They perceive themselves as strong and aggressive but ultimately as is seen in the final line of the poem Die soon they recognize the mortality and weakness of being cool Also the weakness of the final We of every line represents the uncertainty of the speakers about their strength and power Another important idea to note about the rhythms strength is the group mentality which it promotes Individual members of the We group have been assimilated into the whole as a body which thinks as a large organism and not as separate entities Secondly the simple diction and
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