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