Theme Of We Wear The Mask

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The poem “We Wear the Mask” sheds light upon what it was like to be an African American raised in a white-dominated society. In particular, the poem essentially expresses the classification of African Americans in post-slavery America. Dunbar’s concept of “The Mask” correlates to the black women in Atlanta due to the fact that the women endured vigorous amounts of pain and brutality. Not only were they shamed for their skin tone, but for their gender as well. It became a daily hassle for women to go about their lives due to the fact that they were not only a woman, but a black woman living in a predominantly white society. Dunbar begins the poem by declaring that the masks show an indication of one hiding their true feelings. Alternatively,…show more content…
They based their cooking off of their own interpretations and previous experiences amongst their imagination. By doing so, they became a “prime, social place”, especially for the children of the employing household in search of company and treats” (pg. 56). Not only were they creative, but they were also responsible for planning the meals, getting the groceries, washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, and preserving the utensils. Unlike caretakers, the cooks work hours were more flexible. They were allowed to leave between meals, or if finished with their chores, allowed to leave after supper. For the women, it did not seem as though they wore masks. Hunter depicts the cooks as women who enjoy their job and the creativity and flexibility it offered. Unfortunately, laundry work was the most arduous work. “Laundry work became more dreadful as a result of industrialization” (pg. 56) When manufacturing became more prevalent, the amount of clothing people acquired increased, and the excess of fabric increased the constant need for washing. Laundry work became the most demanding work simply because it involved women making their own soap, preparing wash tubs from “beer barrels cut in half” (pg. 57), carrying enormous gallons of water, and also carrying massive amounts of soiled and dirty clothes. Like the cooks, laundry workers were also flexible with their jobs. However, some women are forced to wear masks. The work was exceptionally laborious and requires so much physical labor that it can cause stress to many women both mentally and physically. During this time period, women were not allowed to speak about their true feelings on a particular situation, no matter how unfortunate it may be. They wore masks to hide the exhaustion and tiring labor they
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