The Rose That Grew From Concrete written by famous rapper and actor of America is a symbolic poem in which the poet describes the journey of Rose from darkness in the concrete to fresh air and sunlight.

However, the poem also represents his own journey from a poor ghetto to a successful life. In the poem, the poet urges the readers and audience to rise above the ghettos which are like concrete i.e. hard enough to become a hindrance in the way to success.

The poem is quite short consisting of single stanza has eight lines. There is no specific rhyme scheme. The poet uses a number of literary devices in the poem.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete Poem Summary

  • Lines 1-2

In the first line, the poet raises a rhetorical question, “Did you hear about the rose” drawing reader’s attention towards a rose plant that grew from a crack in the concrete. Concrete is used in the buildings and is quite hard. It cannot be broken down easily and one can easily hurt himself if he tries to break it.

In the poem, concrete symbolises “Ghetto” or probably the slum area which is occupied by the poor section of people. Crimes, scarcity, diseases, violence and other bad things are quite common in such an area. Crack could be the opportunity which is available to all of the people but for some, it is easy to grasp while for others it is quite difficult.

Thus the growing up from the crack in the concrete was quite difficult for the rose and symbolically growing up from the ghettos was quite difficult for the poet and would be difficult for others as well.

  • Lines 3-4

The rose has proven nature’s law is wrong. Nature’s law here means the way rose should have existed i.e. it needs soil, air, sunlight, moisture etc for existence. However it has proven that law wrong because of its struggle.

Similarly, a person living in ghetto or slum area cannot grow up because the community around does not allow him to do so. Its is against the expectations of the ghetto to rise above the poverty. Thus poet’s success is against the common belief or their logical predictions.

The rose has learnt to walk with out having feet i.e. it grew up with any help. Similarly, the poet would also have grown up without any help from his community which was rather acting as stone in his way.

  • Lines 5-6

The poet says that success of the rose or symbolically his own success in coming out of ghetto would seem to be funny but because its (rose’s as well as poet’s) dreams were high and its determination was firm and strong, it learned to breathe fresh air.

The line means that the big dreams always seem funny. The poet would have big dreams in his childhood and others might have been laughing at him as any ghetto would do. However he had strong belief in himself and finally learnt to be successful.

  • Lines 7-8

In the final lines, the poet prays for the rose to live long as it struggled when no one ever cared for it. In the deeper sense, the poet applauds himself and wishes himself to live longer as he struggles when everybody laughed at him but never cared for him.

Further reading:

“The Rose That Grew From Concrete” Analysis
“The Rose That Grew From Concrete” Theme.

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