We Wear the Mask Essay

We Wear the Mask Essay

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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...


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

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