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.
Challenging racism and oppression by bringing to the foreground narratives of humiliation and violence against their people” according to Mothe Subhash in “Violation of Human Rights of the Negro's in the Poems of Langston Hughes”. The theme of powerlessness leads to passion that is shown in Hughes work like in “I, Too”, “Theme for English B” and “Dream Deferred” challenging racism at its core. In the “I Too” poem it’s very heartfelt because Hughes is speaking from the soul around racism. He passed through the Harlem Renaissance why facing struggles with racism. However, his writing seems clear, by using a “pictorial quality he draws a picture before our eyes what life was in 1930's” (Subhash).
It’s not until the end of the first stanza that readers are introduced to the pain blacks chose to disguise themselves from. According to Dunbar “With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, / And mouth with myriad subtleties.” (4,5) Bleeding and torn are symbolic of pain. The fact that the subjects of the mask continue to smile suggests that the mask was used to hide this pain. And considering slavery, many blacks could have had torn and bleeding hearts from intense labor, separation of family and loss of identities. In fact, some blacks actually did suffer physical bleeding and tearing.
In the narrative Douglass shows us how slave owners and their sympathizers described blacks in terms of negative stereotypes to justify treating them as property. These stereotypes provided the foundation for the mythology of the plantation. Slave owners liked to think of themselves as the masters and even father-figures of a class of inferior, childlike people who could not survi... ... middle of paper ... ...her former slaves struggled hard to reclaim the right to define his own identity. To name himself was a huge accomplishment, carrying with it the right to tell his own story. Therefore, by him establishing his own identity on his own terms he catapulted his career as an abolitionist and his own claim to freedom.
According to William Carroll, “The poem closes with a repetition of a sentiment stated earlier: ‘But let the world dream otherwise, / we wear the mask!’ The people show a dogged determination to keep the true nature of their sufferings to themselves and to present to others an outward show of happiness and lack of care. Surely, such insistence on deception must be motivated by powerful feelings resulting from terrifying experiences. Such were the experiences of many people enslaved in the United States before the birth of this poet” (1-2). Because of their racial appearance and experience in injustice society, they have to hide their feeling. Similarly, Langston Hughes was an American poet whose African-American themes... ... middle of paper ... ...d Edition, 1896.
This chapter attempts to focus upon the problem of identity that confronted the African-Americans in America. Thus it investigates the African-American’s identity dilemma as shown in the poetry of Claude McKay and Langston Hughes. At the same time, it provides a solution for the African-American’s problem of estrangement and identity crisis. But while McKay’s self-rejection of his blackness urges him to trace the quest for identity in exile, Hughes’ self acceptance of his blackness enables him to reconcile with the white oppressors who stripped the black race from its identity. Moreover, it sheds light upon the psychological consequences that resulted from the violation of the African-American’s identity.
In his speech, King questions why misery would “constantly haunt the negro? In some distant past, had the forebears done some tragic injury to the nation, and was the curse of punishment upon the black race?” (Paragraph 4). By the use of rhetorical questioning, King creates a vulnerable image for the blacks, because they were innocent victims of wrongdoing. They had done no harm to the whites, so why were they being so abused by them? When King questions and targets the whites, he is also using ethos to appeal to sympathy of the black race.
In the same manner, Horton reveals the part of the slave agony. The black folk and the nation itself are in a determinant position. The nation has the duty to end slavery in practice and in principle and the slave has the duty of moving forward despite the injustice. Horton’s poem gives voice to the hope stilled in many new free blacks, but also denounces the effects of slavery. Both authors denote the way the slave’s character resisted bondage despite its consequences.
In America during the time these poems were written, African Americans were combated with issues of segregation and inequality. The poem “America” describes African American feelings toward the country of America; whereas, “The White City” describes African American feelings toward segregation and individual experiences. Both of these poems successfully display different interpretations of hate through the use of various literary devices. Understanding hatred in its complexity and the uses it has for African Americans is accurately displayed through these poems with passion. These poems both focus on the negative emotions of anguish and resentment associated with the unequal treatment of African Americans, and, through the use of tone and metaphor, the differences between individual and group experiences are illuminated.
The reader is exposed to three types of Negroes; one, the compliant Negro who knows his place, two, the Negro with will take his revenge and three, Negro who is conflicted between his desires and his responsibilities to his people. The poem, "We Wear the Mask”, by Paul Laurence Dunbar is about separating Blacks people from the masks they wear. When Blacks wear their masks they are not simply hiding from their oppressor they are also hiding from themselves. This type of deceit cannot be repaid with material things. This debt can only be repaid through repentance and self-realization.