Elements of Sound in “We Real Cool” and “My Papa’s Waltz”

In: English and Literature

Submitted By catrinaelizabeth
Words 1003
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Elements of sound can be described as devices that are used by poets to reinforce meaning and themes into poetry. Poets can use sound devices such as alliteration, the repetition of two or more consonant sounds in successive words in a line of a verse or prose (Kennedy and Gioia, 2052) or rime, which is when two or more words that contain identical or similar vowel sound (Kennedy and Gioia, 2074). In the two pieces “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke the poets use a combination of rime, rhythm and meter to get the poem’s meaning across.
The poem “We Real Cool” uses rhythm, the pattern of stresses and pauses in a poem, to get across the poet Gwendolyn Brooks’ theme. “We Real Cool” is about a group of boys that should be in school but decide to skip to go do something that is considered “cool”. Brooks uses an imitative tone while simultaneously, questioning of a group of the boys in a pool hall’s lives. Questions come up like “What are they doing here?” and “Shouldn’t they be in school?” but the bigger question is how do they feel about their lives. The poem implies the message that the boys in this pool hall are unhappy with their everyday lives, so they feel the need to pretend to be something else, something “cooler”. By using certain elements of sound Brooks shows the readers that she believes that these boys in the pool hall are trying to be something they are not. The poem also gives the reader a feeling of nostalgia. It brings the reader back to a time when they were younger and reminds them of the times that they tried to be something they were not.
Brooks uses elements of sound like internal rime and meter to imitate how she believes that the boys would sound while talking about their activities. In lines two and three the speaker says that they “Left school” and they “Lurk late”. From these excerpts it can be…...

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