Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Our Teenagers Should Know

We Real Cool

Gwendolyn Brooks
(1917 - 2000) (Kansas, USA)

We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon.

The poem extends much regards to being teenagers as well as their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, interests and hobbies. Being so active, young and curious, "we" teenagers have issues and some concerns on decision-making. We tend to be impulsive to try new things without thinking about the consequences.

Extreme emotions run high and attitudes seem to be inconsistent and abrupt when a child becomes a teenager. He or she may pursue into something that could eventually not good for him or her or would soon put him or her in a very complex situation.

The art of being "cool" gives some thrills at the beginning BUT may soon cause harm and troubles on these teenagers.

In a nutshell, the poem tells something about the essence of the teenagers' (holistically BOYS) self-awareness and decision-making, the importance and the art of making responsible choices.

Persona/Characters: Teenagers (generally/majority BOYS) or Adolescents

The poem initially portrays this teenage psychology: I felt as if I was at the top of the world, as if I could do anything and no one could stop me. Persistent and impulsive, these teenage boys would do whatever they want to, regardless of what the circumstances are.

At the end, they would be in trouble and in a predicament that they will be needing much help and attention from their family, loved ones, mentors and friends. However, much assumption may lead to worst case scenarios that it must be too late before they realize what they have done to themselves and to their lives.

Teenagers today are severe, impulsive, tough and adventurous. Generally, most of them are faced into different kinds of societal problems and difficulties. And with that, they need more "poems" like this to help them, us realize how important making the right and responsible decisions for ourselves and our future.

An expert once stated that there is a heightened anxiety among today's teens and young adults. Such must be accordingly addressed and resolved. They shall be exposed into some situations like this that can lead them to self-realization and awareness - so there will always be a lesson learned, which they can adopt and practice in real life.

Even though the poem was written in 1960, it mirrors the situation of today, for many young men and even young women skip school every day — not to mention those who dropout.

The first seven lines in the poems sound so upbeat but tones change dramatically in the last line. And this sudden change in the tone of the poem redirects the focal point of the verses; thus, it brings new light to the meaning.

The entire tone of the poem is very upbeat; however, the tone changes dramatically at the end with the following statement: "We die soon." This one line alone says a lot.

In a more in depth analysis of the final line (which refers to death), the subtitle of the poem states: THE POOL PLAYERS. SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL. The number "seven" has the aura of good fortune while the boys shoot pool. Moreover, the word "golden" typifies prosperity and happiness, akin to how the boys are feeling.

However, the word "shovel" signifies an ominous sign, relating to death, casket, funeral and later burial. Brooks implies that street people will eventually die soon. These young men are obviously street people because they are not in school.

♥♥♥ Mai Raine ♥♥♥

1 comment:

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