Detailed analysis of the theme, structure, and stylistic aspects of Brooks’s “We Real Cool.” The handout also contains an essay explicating the poem. This nine-paragraph essay may be used as a model in explicating any poem. The first paragraph of the essay has a lead-in sentence (about Brooks), a thesis sentence, and a statement of procedure. Next there is a paragraph discussing the theme of her poem. Then one on its structure, including a summary of “We Real Cool.” Succeeding body paragraphs analyze the poem’s diction, syntax, imagery, and sound devices such as alliteration and assonance. Next is a paragraph discussing the metrics of “We Real Cool” and its relationship to the theme. A summary paragraph closes out the explication essay.
Both the analysis and explication essay of this handout have blanks that your students can fill in. It may be used as a homework assignment or an in-class activity. An answer key is provided on separate pages at the end of the handout.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.