We Wear The Mask Essay

2552 words - 10 pages

Paul Dunbar was an famous African- American poet known for his famous literary works and gained national critical aclaim for his ability to transform the struggle of the black race into powerful poems. His mother and farmer were both former slaves who served in the army. Dun bar’s family grew in extreme poverty, but his mother was always supportive of Dunbar’s love for poems which stemmed from having heard them from the family she used to work for.
During Dunbar’s older years he attended Dayton’s central high and was the only black students however his scholarly abitlities was what distinguished him from the rest. He was class poet and president of the literary society in school. During this time period he searched through many poets work in order to find his own “voice”.
The poem “ We Wear the Mask” was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The poem is about the substantial suffering of black people and how it is essential to mold a happy face that acts as a survival tactic. At the beginning of the poem we see that the people’s hearts are not just"torn" (4) but also "bleeding" (4) which really emphasizes the struggle behind the mask. In the median of the poem no one exhibits care for the blacks or attempts to analyze if the people are really happy, and simply disregard it. In contrast, the world’s non caring attitude is also prevalent when the speaker says “Why should the world be over-wise” (6), meaning not only is there a substantial amount of pain being felt, but the world's not even paying attention, which makes the speaker's suffering worse. Lastly, the poem transitions to the people calling “ O great Christ” (10). The people call for Christ out of hopelessness, and because they feel only he understands their pain.The end of the poem is a continuous circle of suffering because the people still continue to smile while dying on the inside. They believe that there is no good reason to show someone what is behind the mask because they will be judged or ridiculed. To them the only person that knows, and should know what is behind the mask is God, because only he truly knows and understands the struggle within black America.
The negative emotions in this poem have always been a component of black America’s struggle. In "We Wear The Mask,” The writer describes how people purposely change their external appearances and how this can be both detrimental and helpful. This is seen through his expertise use of metaphors and hyperboles. The poem is also about the mask, humans wear to disguise pain, sadness, or turmoil when in the company of others. The speaker opens with the title of the poem so that readers know that the “mask” (1) is really important. Dunbar gives the mask human characteristics because the people have allowed the mask to go from being temporarily on their face to permanent. It is ironic that the people wear the mask to conceal their suffering, but it causes them to suffer more.The use of hyperbole to express how serious the mask is...

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