"We Wear The Mask" By Dunbar
"We Wear The Mask" By Dunbar
The mask in the poem '' We Wear the Mask'' is a metaphor for a social performance that African Americans would often put on to avoid negative consequences associated with telling the truth about their experiences with racial injustice or their feelings about it.
Personification: "The mask that lies", "let the world dream" "the world counting"
imagery brings the mask into sharper contrast in the reader’s mind: big enough to cover the cheeks and capable of throwing shade over the eyes. "Bleeding hearts", "This debt we pay"
Rhetorical question; "why should the world.."
Paul Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” is sometimes referred to as a “muted protest” poem.
African Americans participate in a kind of game that the whole society has agreed to play--to pretend that African Americans were content when they had little reason to be. ''Torn and bleeding hearts'' suggests that the game takes a severe emotional toll. ''Mouth with myriad subtleties'' suggests that African Americans play the game not only with their conduct, but also with their words, telling people what they wish to hear.
blacks at all times must show publicly demonstrate the debt they owe for being free through an exhibition of happy contentment.
The reference to “human guile” which demands that creative spirits funnel their true nature through the voices of “myriad subtleties” all speak thematically to the fear of being misunderstand and the potential danger always lurking within a misunderstanding.
Paul Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask” can be said to deal with the universal theme of the persona we all put on for the benefit of other people. Some of us wear that mask only rarely while others wear that mask most of their lives
Dunbar makes use of only two rhyme sounds in this solemn meditation. While the word “subtleties” at the end of stanza 1 does not actually rhyme with “lies” and “eyes,” it provides an example of eye rhyme. That is to say, it looks as if it could rhyme with those other words.
The repetition of "we wear the mask"
We wear: alliteration
AABBA rhyme sceme
"O", "Oh" ; onomatopoeia to show sadness
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Because of his race he couldnt work as a writer
considered the first major black poet in America
His parents were slaves.
African-Americans being forced to subdue their identity and submit to an enforced masquerade
Masks show an untruthful version of a person just to be liked by the public.
Sometimes people wear masks to protect their fragile sense of self-identity from the rest of the world.
Tortured, yet proud and strong-willed
Mixture of sadness and frustration
The poem is about African Americans who hide their feeling of sadness behind a mask that grins in front of the white community.And then goes on showing how this mask made them show this persona that was content toward the discrimination they were facing back then. Finally the author grows to peace with the mask and considers it a chance to alleviate that painful experience by choosing the view the mask as the reality and avoiding the truth that lies beneath.
Racism is still alive in America and all over the world!
Written during 1800's (19th century) , a very turbulent period in U.S race relations
The first few words or phrase from the first line are repeated twice in the poem as a refrain.
Has 2 rhyme schemes
Meshael S. - Maisa 11D