The lifestyle of the seven pool players described in Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool” seems to create negative impression; they are after all youngsters who are missing school, lurking and striking. However, when you read this poem multiple times, you realize that there is no judgement (as far as I could tell) in the tone of the speaker. Partly because the repetition of the inclusive word “we” reads as though the speaker themselves, despite not being one of the pool players, lives the same lifestyle. The final line of the poem, “We die soon,” (7-8) reveals the expected death that we have all heard, read, and wrote about. If death is not a shocker and we are all aware that we will die someday, there is no reason to be critical of the pool players’ death.
“We sing sin. We thin gin” (4-6). This may be my favorite lines; they read so beautifully and the dilution of the alcohol in a way contrast their seemingly concentrated life.