An analysis of inconsistent views of integrity in America
The inconsistent American view of integrity exposed in “We Wear the Mask” Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Theme for English B” Langston Hughes acknowledges the struggle between how society views African Americans and how the community views itself. Circumstances were difficult in America amongst the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century. An immense amount of changes were happening, and numerous people had a troublesome time dealing with them. African Americans specifically got in a culture that showed up to more superior to anything it had been before and surrounded by the Civil War. The truth was, things simply weren 't so divine. African-American of this time period are prime cases …show more content…
They lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly.” (1.2.1) consistently focusing on that the Breedloves ' property is not simply momentary; she highlights that it is involved. Their race as well as their self-loathing and mental issues hold them down. Dunbar underlined in his piece the seriousness of the agony and enduring that these covers attempt to conceal. When he says “ And mouth with myriad subtleties” There 's an entire host of “subtleties” that play into the distinctive classifications of society and class, particularly when you 're managing the unstable world of racial prejudices. This family is facing hardships due to social class and race Morrison addresses the misfortunes which African Americans experienced in their movement from the country South to the urban North from 1930 to 1950. They lost their feeling of group, their association with their past, and their way of
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The history of African American discrimination is a despicable part of the United States’ past. Inequality among Black Americans prompts these individuals to overcome the hardships. This endurance is valued by African Americans and people all around the world. However, the ability to strive and maintain positivity in a difficult or prejudiced situation proves to be tremendously challenging. When people give up in tough times, they deny their opportunity to succeed and grow stronger. This paper examines the techniques that manifest the struggles of racism and the importance of conquering obstacles in the following poems: Dream Deferred, I, Too and Mother to Son.
When reading the literature of Langston Hughes, I cant help but feeling energetically charged and inspired. Equality, freedom, empowerment, renaissance, justice and perseverance, are just a taste of the subject matter Hughes offers. He amplifies his voice and beliefs through his works which are firmly rooted in race pride and race feeling. Hughes committed himself both to writing and to writing mainly about African Americans. His early love for the “wonderful world of books” was sparked by loneliness and parental neglect. He would soon lose himself in the works of Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence, Carl Sandburg and other literary greats which would lead to enhancing his ever so growing style and grace of oeuvre. Such talent, character, and willpower could only come from one’s life experiences. Hughes had allot to owe to influences such as his grandmother and great uncle John Mercer Langston - a famous African American abolitionist. These influential individuals helped mold Hughes, and their affect shines brightly through his literary works of art.
In the novel there were many events that showed how the African Americans were in this time period. One of them being the court case of Tom Robinson, who was put under arrest for raping a white girl. Even though the white girl was the one coming on to him this resulted in her father walking in on them and hitting his daughter. Know this should have ended with the girl getting in trouble, but that was not the case in this time period it was a white man word versus a black man word and in this time a black man’s word was worth less than a dime. This was also shared in some level in the poem, this mask that it says African Americans had to wear to hide there pain and sorrow is the same thing that Tom Robinson had to do when facing life in jail, blacks had no choice they knew their fate in the hands of the
Throughout Hughes’ Not Without Laughter, we see the long-term effect of generations of prejudice and abuse against blacks. Over time, this prejudice manifested itself through the development of several social classes within the black community. Hughes’, through the eyes of young Sandy, shows us how the color of one’s skin, the church they attend, the level of education an individual attained, and the type of employment someone could find impacted their standing within the community and dictated the social class they belonged to. Tragically, decades of slavery and abuse resulted in a class system within the black community that was not built around seeking happiness or fulfillment but, equality through gaining the approval of whites.
James Mercer who we all knew as Langston Hughes, was born in Joplin, Missouri February 1, 1902. Right after Hughes was born his parents James Hughes and Carrie Langston, decided to separate. His father went his way and his mother she moved around a lot so his maternal grandmother raised him. Mary, Hughes grandmother had an impact that influenced him into writing poetry. After his grandmother passed he eventually went to stay with his mother where they got settled in Ohio. Hughes began writing poetry throughout his years in high school.
The poem We Wear the Mask by Paul Dunbar is filled with many powerful statements. Dunbar talks writes about how there is so much hurt behind people’s smiles and so much pain in their past. He also asks why society should be “over-wise;” it tries to act like it knows what is best for people. The play An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has a lot in common with this poem. Nataki Garrett who was the director of this play at the Mixed Blood Theatre saw how well this poem went with the play, and she added it into the program. Both the poem and the play talk about how it was like for African Americans to live in a white dominated society.
Langston Hughes's stories deal with and serve as a commentary of conditions befalling African Americans during the Depression Era. As Ostrom explains, "To a great degree, his stories speak for those who are disenfranchised, cheated, abused, or ignored because of race or class." (51) Hughes's stories speak of the downtrodden African-Americans neglected and overlooked by a prejudiced society. The recurring theme of powerlessness leads to violence is exemplified by the actions of Sargeant in "On the Road", old man Oyster in "Gumption", and the robber in "Why, You Reckon?"
A person may appear one way on the outside but may be feeling the total opposite on the inside. He may be masking his true emotions with a false appearance. In "We Wear the Mask" it seems that Paul Laurence Dunbar is sending this message to his readers . Dunbar was born in Ohio after the conclusion of the American Civil War. Thus, he was never enslaved, however, his parents had been, he heard lots of stories of people being enslaved from his parents and others. In this poem, Dunbar specifically talks about racism and how he’s feeling from
In life, we are often confronted with boundaries created by society and ourselves. In our limited understanding of what those boundaries represent, we find ourselves confined by our ego. Racism and prejudices have plagued society for many years, and many of us have been judged and condemned for expressing our true selves. How long must it take for us all to be accepted as beautiful beings, all perfectly capable of greatness and joy?
Paul Laurence Dunbar uses a lot of symbolism in his poems. In “We Wear the Mask” (1897), Dunbar is referring to the hard exterior the African Americans had to portray in order to make it through the tough times. When Dunbar writes, “Why should the world be overwise, In counting all our tears and sighs” (Dunbar, 1897, p. 1808). What Dunbar is saying is why give the people anything else to us against them. There has been enough suffering, there is no need to add fuel to the fire so to speak. They will remember and honor their families, but they will never let anyone see the pain they struggle with every day (Dunbar, 1897). In the poem “Sympathy” (1899) Dunbar writes about a caged bird (Dunbar, 1897). The caged bird represents how his people are
Dreams are aspirations that people hope to achieve in their lifetime. They are a motive that drives lives to accomplish goals. When trying to achieve these goals, people can do anything. However, what happens when a dream is deferred? A dream cast aside can frustrate a person in the deepest way. It tends to permeate their thoughts and becomes an unshakable burden. In the poem “Harlem,” Langston Hughes, through literary technique, raises strong themes through a short amount of language.
There are times in life where we are forced to do something we do not really want to do. There are certain situations like this that come to my mind. Every so often, my family gets together. As a teenager, I do not want to be confined. I realize some of my relatives are a lot older than me and I should spend as much time with them as I can. When my family gets together, I frequently am forced to go to these events and put a smile on my face. I am acting. I am putting on my “mask” and pretending that I am happy. This artificial face is the subject of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear the Mask.” Dunbar expresses his feelings on what African-Americans were forced to do a century ago. People thought they were happy doing the work they did for the white culture. In reality, they were not. That is the point Dunbar tries to explain to his readers.
Langston Hughes was an activist for the African-American community and made significant artistic contributions to the Harlem Renaissance throughout his career. In one of his most famous poems, “Harlem [Dream Deferred]”, he addresses the limitations and oppression of African Americans after the Great Depression. Many African Americans dreamed of equality, but often times that dream became neglected and pushed aside. In his poem, Hughes responds to a question about a deferred dream with a series of vivid similes, inquiring what happens to a constantly ignored dream.
"We Wear the Mask" by Paul Dunbar was published in the late 1800’s, a time when African-Americans, like Paul Dunbar, were treated very poorly and had access to very few rights. Many changes were occurring during this time, and individuals were having a difficult time coming to terms with them. African Americans in particular found themselves caught in a culture that was not suitable for them. Dunbar expresses these feelings in the tone, which is shown by misery, anger and unhappiness. He uses the metaphor of wearing a mask to express the overall oppression of African Americans in this time period. Dunbar uses a lot of figurative language throughout this poem. He uses the word "we" to speak for the entire African American population as well as his self. He does this because he is painfully aware of the status his own race is living in. Throughout this poem, Paul Dunbar illustrates the horrific injustices they had to undergo while "wearing the mask" to hide their true emotions behind a smile. I have chosen a few lines in the poem “We Wear the Mask” to break down and show what each line really means through this figurative language Dunbar uses. I chose to examine lines 1 through 11, and 14 and 15.