The Language of the Black Condition and All Conditions: Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask”

The Language of the Black Condition and All Conditions: Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask”

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Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear The Mask” cleverly talks of the black condition in a language so universal that it could apply to any race of people that tries to hide their emotions from the world in order to survive.
Dunbar argues for the reality of the black man’s plight in America, the black man's struggle for equality in the world, and the struggle for peace within. These are circumstances of the poet’s life that influenced his writing of the poem.
PARAGRAPH 2: Background information on your author or document.
Paul Laurence Dunbar’s was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872, to parents who were former slaves. His parents divorced when he was four years old. Dunbar developed a strong bond with his mother. She told him stories of her slavery days, which helped influence his writings of poetry and short stories (Dunbar 602).
“Dunbar was the only African-American in his class at Dayton Central High, and while he often had difficulty finding employment because of his race, he rose to great heights in school (Dunbar , U. of Dayton). Dunbar began writing in high school, becoming class president and poet. He supported himself by writing as an elevator operator. Dunbar died at the age of 33 from tuberculosis. He had “written 12 books of poetry, as well as a play, five novels, and four books of short stories (Dunbar, U. of Dayton). He had also been published in many magazines and journals. After his death, his Dayton house became a landmark open to the public, and he had a high school named after him” (quote)

Body Paragraphs: Paragraphs showing your critical analysis/interpretation of the work(s) of your author or of your document. Underline all topic setences

Dunbar’s argument for the reality of the black man’s ...


... middle of paper ...


...a, his struggles for equality, and for peace within. Dunbar’s is advocating courage in the face of racial domination and discrimination. He is trying to get across to the reader, the mask isn't real, and the world is only seeing us in disguise.




Works Cited
“An Analysis of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s We Wear the Mask.” 123HelpMe.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2009. .

Dunbar, Paul Laurence. Biography. Call & Response. The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition. Reading.

- - -. “Biography: The Life of Laurence Dunbar.” The Paul Laurence Dunbar Website. Public Relations Office of U. of Dayton, 3 Feb. 2003. Web. 4 Dec. 2009. .

Johnson, Melody C. “Critical Appreciation of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask”.” Bookstove. N.p., 5 Nov. 2009. Web. 4 Dec. 2009. .

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