We Wear the Mask Essay

We Wear the Mask Essay

Length: 1514 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Paul Laurence Dunbar, dispatches the cold troubles of African Americans in the lyrical poem, "We Wear the Mask." In this poem, Dunbar links imagery, rhythm, rhyme, and word choice to in order to institute a connection to the reader. From reading the poem, one can infer that Mr. Dunbar is speaking in general, of the misery that many people keep concealed under a grin that they wear very well. But if one were to go further and take the time to research Mr. Dunbar’s selection of this piece and the era of which this poem was written, one would come to understand that this poem focuses entirely on Paul Laurence Dunbar’s viewpoints on racial prejudice and the struggle for equality for the African-American’s of his time period. Though this analysis is not based on the meaning of this poem, it is necessary that in order to demonstrate the sound of analysis, one must first understand the poem.
To begin, the sound of this poem can be proven to strongly contribute an effect to the message of this piece. This poem contains a traditional meter. All of the lines in the poem except for lines nine and 15 are in iambic tetrameter. In this metric pattern, a line has four pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables, for a total of eight syllables. This is relevant in order for the force of the poem to operate dynamically. The poem is speaking in a tenor of veiled confessions. For so long, the narrator is finally speaking up, in honesty, and not holding back. Yet, though what has been hidden is ultimately coming out, there is still this mask, a façade that is being worn. In sequence, the last words in each of the lines, again, except for lines nine and 15, are all in rhythm, “lies, eyes, guile, smile, subtleties, over-wise, sighs, cries, arise, vile...


... middle of paper ...


... not even once does it talk about blacks or racial prejudice. In other words, the poem itself is wearing a mask. On the other end, it unambiguously exhibits Dunbar's emotions as a frustrated black man. In other words, it removes all facade and deception. The mask is gone. What is then left is a poem that obscures everything and reveals everything at the same time. However, if the reader views the narrator as a kind of universal voice, rather than a specific man, then the paradox does not hold. In the final instance, the overall language could relate to anyone of any race who veils his or her emotions in order to move on in the world. Generally, with that message being defined, the notion alone would not be possible, without the sounds and visual imagery that is strongly impacted throughout this piece.



Works Cited

http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/11/8/10054/0623

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

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

- 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....   [tags: Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask, ]

Powerful Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

Analysis of We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar Essay

- Analysis of We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a renowned piece of literature that has been the subject of various literary criticisms over the years. Because of the poem’s indirectness and generalized ambiguity, the interpretation of the “we” that wears the “mask” and why they do so is left unanimously undisclosed. It is up to the interpreter and the support given by the interpreter to produce a valid representation of the meaning that lies beneath the mask....   [tags: Slavery Racism We Wear the Mask Essays]

Powerful Essays
1336 words (3.8 pages)

We Wear the Mask Essay

- William Shakespeare once proclaimed that “the past is prologue.” Are we really bound by history. Is our present a mere continuation, a monomorphic continuation if you will, of the novel that is our existence, or can it be developed in a bifurcated fashion. Paul Lawrence Dunbar, prominently noted as the "Poet Laureate of the Negro Race" (p 905) is a prime example of how the past can be depicted in a multifold manner. His two works " We Wear the Mask" and "An Ante-Bellum Sermon" illustrate the double-consciousness that Dunbar was most notorious for....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Paul Laurence Dunbar]

Powerful Essays
1759 words (5 pages)

We Wear the Mask Essay

- Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” is a lyric poem in which the point of attraction, the mask, represents the oppression and sadness held by African Americans in the late 19th century, around the time of slavery. As the poem progresses, Dunbar reveals the façade of the mask, portrayed in the third stanza where the speaker states, “But let the dream otherwise” (13). The unreal character of the mask has played a significant role over the life of African Americans, whom pretend to put on a smile when they feel sad internally....   [tags: Literature]

Powerful Essays
1260 words (3.6 pages)

We Wear the Mask Essay

- Paul Laurence Dunbar, dispatches the cold troubles of African Americans in the lyrical poem, "We Wear the Mask." In this poem, Dunbar links imagery, rhythm, rhyme, and word choice to in order to institute a connection to the reader. From reading the poem, one can infer that Mr. Dunbar is speaking in general, of the misery that many people keep concealed under a grin that they wear very well. But if one were to go further and take the time to research Mr. Dunbar’s selection of this piece and the era of which this poem was written, one would come to understand that this poem focuses entirely on Paul Laurence Dunbar’s viewpoints on racial prejudice and the struggle for equality for the African-...   [tags: Literature]

Powerful Essays
1514 words (4.3 pages)

We Wear the Mask by Paul Lawrence Dunbar Essay

- ... The devil and the mask are similar because both are not always what they seem. The devil is a representation of evil, and can hide itself. The mask can be a representation of evil because it essentially is a casket of the lies, pain, and suffering that black people are forced to hide. Dunbar’s family roots trace back to slavery, and religion. He manages to incorporate his religion, and slave roots into both poems which emphasize how God is prevalent in the lives of blacks, and a helpful source to come to in time of need....   [tags: poem analysis]

Powerful Essays
1960 words (5.6 pages)

We Wear The Mask: Our Different Masks Essay

- “We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes […]” (Dunbar 249). In the poem “c,” csuggest that many people wear masks that conceal their true identities and emotions. Dunbar believe that hiding one’s true feelings and identity behind masks can become torturous. Many people have different masks that they wear throughout their everyday lives. There are many possible reasons why people wear masks. There are those who wear masks to hide things are seen as socially unacceptable....   [tags: Paul Laurence Dunbar ]

Powerful Essays
1079 words (3.1 pages)

We Wear the Mask Essay

- “We Wear the Mask” 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....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
579 words (1.7 pages)

Figurative Devices: Comparing "We Wear the Mask" and "Theme for English B"

- Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes were considered to be early black poets during the twentieth century around the period of civil right movement. “We wear the mask” and “Theme for English B” were written in 1895 and 1951 respectively. Even there is approximately 50 years gap between these two poems, the theme that these two poems address is somewhat similar. Even though Dunbar uses symbols as figurative devices while Hughes uses Irony, they both have the same goal, which is to point out the racial issues within American society....   [tags: poetry, African-American literature]

Powerful Essays
1080 words (3.1 pages)

An Ubiquitous Poem, We Wear the Mask by Paul Lawrence Dunbar Essay

- We Wear the Mask, written in 1886 by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, is a ubiquitous poem that has a copious amount of interpretations; nonetheless, one of the most prevalent interpretation of the poem is that of Paul Dunbar’s background. Paul Dunbar was an African American who grew up during the time of slavery; consequently, We Wear the Mask is conceived to be written as an exemplification of the grievances faced by African Americans, during the period of slavery. Though We Wear the Mask was written over a century ago and for a reason – life for African American, during the period of slavery – it can be applied to numerous social situations faced in our present society; one of them being domestic ab...   [tags: slavery, victims, bullied]

Powerful Essays
568 words (1.6 pages)