Final Research Essay

1357 Words6 Pages
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, ... ... middle of paper ... ...is presented in a way that “blacks or whites can draw admonition from the subject” (1) . Another perspective from Revell is that the poem presents itself in terms of passionate personal regret. Revell believes that Dunbar felt guilty because he allowed himself to be bound to the “ plantation lifestyle” (1). The plantation life style internal anguish and agony the blacks went through as slaves. Some blacks have moved on from it, but some continue to use slavery as an excuse to not progress in life. It should be noted that Revell draws the most attention to the middle of the poem. The poem itself is masked because it never specifically says who its linked too, even though most would infer that it is linked to the black race. Revell concludes that Dunbar left aside the preconceived image of what it meant to be black in America, and spoke “only from his heart” (1) .
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