Who is the speaker in "We Real Cool?"

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bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

The subtitle of the poem is "The Pool Players. Seven at the Golden Shovel." I believe the speakers of the poem are the seven pool players of the poem. These young men have no sense of purpose in their lives, and each day is like the one before. They spend their days shooting pool, drinking, and staying out late. They have dropped out of school and live in a poor neighborhood where their lives are like many of the other young, black men in their community. Words such as "lurk" and "strike" suggest they must engage in criminal activities to support themselves and also support the belief they will die at a young age. These seven young men do represent the plight of young, black men in cities across America during the time.

I have included a link below that might further help you to understand the poem.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, the speaker in this poem is not any particular person -- it is not someone that we can name.  Instead, the speaker in the poem is meant to be someone who represents a certain group of people.

The whole point of the poem is that some young African-American men are making choices that are destructive.  They do things like not going to school, things that make them end up dying young.  So the speaker is just a representative of that group of young men.

So I would answer this by saying that the speaker is not a specific individual but rather a "person" who is meant to be the representative of a whole group on whose lives the poet is commenting.

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