ial level these representations might be seen in the poems being considered in this paper: Gwendolyn Brooks’ "We Real Cool" & Maya Angelou’s "Phenomenal Women." However, the clever use of words in these poems contradicted these connotations and superimposed representation of gender differences and the emotions generally associated to them.
Gwendolyn Brooks and Maya Angelou are African-American women with strong personalities. The most dominant theme in Brooks works are the impact of ethnicity and life experiences on ones view of life. Angelou’s, on the other hand, usually center on the themes of courage, perseverance, self-acceptance, and realization of ones full potential.
“We Real Cool” depicts the climactic end of the battle of seven school dropouts and their struggles with personal identity. In this poem, Brooks speaks and feels for the seven school drop outs and sees the world through their eyes. The unfettered young men, though seemingly not concerned of their situation, as described in the first seven lines eventually turned out to have known the consequence of their actions.
“At first, it seems like it is inadvertent, even an unguarded revelation but I think that both the poet and her hooligan narrator realize that the threat of death in the streets is an ever-present part of what makes life on the streets worthwhile. It’s what gives that life vitality.”1 There is no separation in the part of the writer and the characters. The writer speaks on behalf of the seven school drop outs. Perhaps, even feeling the uncertainties in their actions camouflaged by being “cool.” Emphasizing it’s tragic effect in the last line, “Die Soon.”
“Phenomenal Woman,” on the other hand, describes a self-assured woman who has fully realized her self-worth that both sexes: “pretty women… and men” did not fail to notice her existence. The words Maya Angelou uses show that the character is conscious of her actions and is in total control of