I have an assignment where I have to analyze We Real Cool by using TPCASTT (title, paraphrase, connotation, diction, attitude, tone, shift(s), title revisited and theme). I've been working on this...

I have an assignment where I have to analyze We Real Cool by using TPCASTT (title, paraphrase, connotation, diction, attitude, tone, shift(s), title revisited and theme). I've been working on this for a week, but I feel very weak when it comes to analyzing things in general. I need help on putting my thoughts into words, and also understanding the poem itself; I just can't grasp the entire message that Brooks is giving.

So far this is what I have.

T: We Real Cool

P: I don't really have much other than this for paraphrasing: We are really cool, because we skip school We hang all day and all night We play pool, and we are good at it. Its always June for us, we don’t go to school. We will get in trouble soon.

C: For connotation I don't have anything down yet.

A: I interpreted the tone as lighthearted and careless, but I want to find a better way to say it; those two words don't really paint the picture in my head.

S: For shifts I highlighted all the happy parts of the poem, which is basically all the lines except for the last one which is when the shift happens.

T: I said the title "We Real Cool" is a sarcastic way of describing the people as actually uncool for being delinquents.

T: Don't really know how to put it, but I feel like the poem is about having pride in rebellion.

Expert Answers
rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You are doing an excellent job so far! I think your paraphrase is spot on, except the last sentence could be more dire than "get in trouble." Perhaps you could say something like, "We don't realize it yet, but we are headed for an early grave." 

Connotation refers to a deeper meaning. The deeper meaning might be something about how peer pressure blinds youth to the consequences of their actions; they find safety in numbers as friends reinforce bad choices and lead young people astray. More than one connotation is possible, and often the theme and connotation are closely related.

For diction, you should note the dialect the poem is written in. You might describe it as an inner-city dialect or a dialect that reveals a lack of education. For example, the concept expressed in the title would be phrased "we are very cool" if the speakers were using standard English. The wording chosen creates a cadence or rhythm that is swaggering and proud; the repetitive use of "we" reinforces the undue focus on themselves in an off-putting way. 

You have the right idea about the attitude, but "lighthearted" is probably not what you want. Here are some other words to express what you may be picking up from this poem: flippant, rebellious, cocky, and over-confident. 

The shifts you mention are on the mark. The end is somber, sobering, shocking, and even tragic. 

For the title, a better word than "sarcastic" might be "ironic," which indicates that things turn out the opposite of what would be expected. 

Again, you have a good idea about the theme. The theme is a universal truth we can derive from a literary work, so you should state it in a complete sentence. You could say, "Young people who take pride in their rebellion will suffer the consequences." Tying it back to the connotation, you could say, "Peer pressure encourages young people to take pride in their rebellion and blinds them to the consequences of their poor decisions."

 

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We Real Cool

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