The Rose that grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur- Analysis and summary

Tupac Shakur – Introduction

Tupac Amaru Shakur is popularly known as 2pac is an American rapper, song writer and actor. He was born on June 1971 and died in a homicide gunshot on September 13, 1996. His works represent contemporary social issues and he is considered as the symbol of resistance, activism and against inequality.

Poem The Rose that grew from Concrete

Did you hear about The rose that grew from a crack

in the concrete

Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned to walk

without having feet

Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams

it learned to Breathe fresh air

long live the rose that grew from concrete

When no one else ever cared!

Line by line Interpretation

in the concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack

The opening lines of the poem starts with a question, in a way poet is asking to readers whether you are aware of a rose that grew from a crack in the concrete. This sets the mood of narration where poet is going to tell a short story. Interestingly, there is no question mark at the end of the line. Looking at the meaning of the lines, we understand that something unusual has happened where a rose has grown breaking all odds from harsh realities of life.

The poet calls it as rose and not as a plant which raises a question, Why did he choose a rose instead of a plant? One interpretation can be drawn that a flower is always derived as a symbol for life. So it might be appropriate to use rose apart from plant. Considering rose as symbol for life will help us analyse the rest of the poem better.

Concrete is symbol for all the troubles, criticism and obstacles faced in life. The will of the rose is so strong that it can break the concrete and grow. It can also mean concrete as society being broken from its unity and infilled with negatives like a crack (criticism, racial discrimination, domination etc) yet a human like rose manages to stand alone and grow.

Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned to walk

without having feet

Learned to walk signifies that it has done something incredible that has shocked nature (society). While reading this line we feel that he is fantasizing rose by making it walk, but he keeps the poem near to reality by adding the rest of the line that is without having feet. This shows that rose is actually doing something incredible in its life which is phenomenal. Another interpretation that can be drawn from walked without feet is that the rose is a man who came up in life without any help or guidance from others. He has climbed this success without any support.

He says that rose proves nature’s law wrong, it doesn’t mean that the rose is illegitimate or unlawful but it is unique in its own way and lives it’s life as nobody does. This can also mean that a human not meeting the common expectations of society following the way that is accepted by the majorities.

Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams

it learned to breathe fresh air

The word funny is capital, which stresses the meaning more and grabs reader’s more attention towards it. Poet says, it seems just funny perhaps it is not funny. It also justifies the above paragraph’s interpretation that it is not fantasy.

Dreams helped rose to breathe fresh air. Here Dreams stands for its goals and aspirations and fresh air can be clarity or new approach to life.We can notice here that dreams and fresh air both serve motivation and energy to face future. So the combination promotes the intention rightly.

long live the rose that grew from concrete

When no one else ever cared!

In the closing lines of the poem, poet wishes that long live the rose which grew from concrete. The line presents two purposes here, one he is wishing good to rose and another it also reminds reader regarding the hardships that rose has overcome.

The line completes with the when no one else ever cared, which shows how the rose was ignored by others and the struggles it has undergone to reach this stage as to grow from concrete, walk without feet. Thus the poem celebrates the journey of rose.

The Rose that grew from Concrete Analysis

It appears that the rose in the poem refers to Tupac Shakur himself. It seems like the story of rose is of his own life. It talks about how a beautiful flower like rose can grow from something that is not beautiful, like the concrete. Concrete represents the hardships we face and the problems we inherit, the crack symbolises an opportunity to grow from that concrete. It is an inspirational poem that gives motivation and need to achieve something in life.

The poem is single stretched and has no full stop or coma in between. It is a free verse and does not have a rhyme scheme. Only exclamatory mark has been used to intensify the expression.

The style of the poem is very informal and the way words are in simple diction. The words like rose, concrete and learned are repeated twice in the poem.

Poetic Devices in the poem The Rose that Grew from Concrete

  • Symbols : Rose, concrete, crack, nature’s law, without having feet and fresh air.
  • Personification : Rose is personification for either Tupac’s life or any other person.
  • Alliteration:
    • Crack in the concrete,
    • Long live
    • But by

Tone and Speaker

The tone of the poem is Optimistic. It motivates the reader to rise above hardships in life. However, it is neither too serious nor too careless.

The speaker of the poem may be assumed to be Tupac Shakur himself, as indicated by the line “Did you hear about…”. The poet is talking about the rose to the reader directly.


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