Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rebellion of an Era

Day after Day, the youth trample past the monotonous ivory. A dreary pathway of apathy; hierarchy reticulated like the ever-growing vines entangled on an aged oak. The school holds no enticement to the youth of an inverse era. For African Americans in the 1960’s there was only half the chance of completing high school( Education was of lesser importance, which is of veritable notability when reviewing the writing of Gwendolyn Brooks.

To begin, “we real cool. We left school”(Brooks). The sixties was an era of “flower power.” School was a “drag” ( “Cats” and “chicks” were constantly “bookin” from the insipid corridor( Societal popularity was contingent on opposition from the Man. Brooks describes the connection between defiance of the accepted norm simply the in first statement.

As the adolescents descend into the pool room the deafening chant divides the inundating smog “we lurk late. We strike straight”(Brooks). Billiard was reestablished by two varying events, the first being “the release of the movie, The Hustler, based on the novel by Walter Tevis. The black and white film depicted the dark life of a pool hustler with Paul Newman in the title role”( The Pool Room was a place where the conscience of the Man could not be infringed upon by another being. The ideals of the era were simply compacted into a single building, the Billiard. It is only logical that rebellion is centered at the end of a cue soaring across the green oasis. 

The party rages. “We sing sin. We thin gin”(Brooks). During the era of the blues, sin was “celebrated”( The youth reveled in the sinful nature of the blues. Rebellion during this era is considerably deemed the most imperative means of acceptance. Drugs and alcohol were integers of prominence for adolescents as well. As money was not a relevant eventuality of the free spirited era, adaptations were necessary. Diluting gin with water was a common practice as a means of payment was scarce. The youth had to do what was necessary to find their own version of happiness.

The poem concludes in saying “we jazz june. We die soon”(brooks). Simply, jazzing in June portrayed the importance of the jazz in the African American culture of the sixties. In following, “we die soon.” The blight lifestyle is affirmed. Death is imminent when running with the big “cats.” Do you feel the youth of the sixties lived a fast life? How have adolescents evolved today? Is it a positive change? 


  1. I enjoyed this post. I agree, the younger generation of the 60's did seem to "live fast." I found this interesting due to how it does relate you to the times. It's definitely not relevant for our generation as much, yet some things still stand as true I feel. We definitely, as the "millenial" generation, live fast as well, party too often, and are fueled by music. Some of the mentalities are different, but overall, young people still seem the same to me. The only change can be seen in the issues they face nowadays compared to the 60's.

    1. I agree there are similarities and differences in the generations. Youth will always live fast lives though. They will always want to party, be reckless and embrace the music of their generation. That's part of growing up, part of sowing those wild oats. I definitely don't see it as a bad thing and yet just a necessary one. The real changes are just those of the times, what's happening around them. And how they grow up millennial generations have a deeper sense of entitlement because of the excessive coddling and assuredness their fed about being special and being able to be or do anything they want. This next generation to follow us will have their own obstacles, with technology with at the epicenter of their lives, having all the information in the world at their constant disposal will have it's own effects. But I believe 16-20 somethings will still be reckless. They'll still do as they please, live fast and enjoy their youth because that's the point. To enjoy your youth while you have it. The amount of people in my generation that have lost their youth to children is tragic. That had to grow us at 16,17,18 is sad. I can't imagine being a mother and I'm 23 and married. I have so much more adventures to have. I couldn't imagine having to give it all up. I know that's not mentioned in the poem but unlike those in the 60's mistake having been leaving school I think children of the 90's and 2000's is losing their youth to being teen parents. It's tragic but it can't be stopped and the next generation will have it's own problems. The youth will be fast in their own ways and they'll self destruct on their own.

  2. What did you think of what Brooks says about the poem in her introduction in the video (there's also a more lengthy interview in the weekly presentation)? About how she reads it? It sounds very different when she reads it than how it sounded in my head the first time, and now the poem has a very different feel for me...