“We Real Cool”: The Illusion of Cool I shifted through the party, enveloped in heavy bass and strobing lights. My friend had just arrived, bottle in hand, and was already surrounded by a crowd of people. He stood tall amongst them with confident body language and a slight grin, cracking jokes and uplifting everyone’s spirits. He was truly the life of the party. I saw a piece of myself in him at the time, but I could never do what he did. He simply did not care; not about grades, not about the wishes of his parents, or anything at all for that matter. My friend’s extremely nonchalant vibe gave him the illusion of being cool. In Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool,” this illusion of being cool is heavily portrayed through her use of themes, literary elements, and symbolism. Brooks’ use of themes in the poem shows just how far the boys being discussed are from the norm. The title and opening statement of the poem “We real cool” highlights the theme of pride (1). The boys are proud of their behavior and encourage each other’s reckless actions. Their willingness to “[leave] school” and “lurk late” shows that they view their low standing in society with honor because of their contempt for the education system (2-3). This deep rooted animosity stems from their past endeavors in this field having fallen short. As they all share this characteristic, the boys are able to easily identify amongst one another and perform their irresponsible actions together. This theme of identity shared among the boys is illustrated even more strongly by the narrator’s constant use of “We” (1-7). As it’s repeated a total of eight times
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