Analysis Of The Poem ' We Wear The Mask ' Essay example

1000 Words Mar 31st, 2016 null Page
Argumentative Essay

Paul Laurence Dunbar’s famous poem, We Wear the Mask, is a sentimental and symbolic poem that refers to the times individuals hide behind masks for various reasons. However, many critics think that this poem only applies to individuals who suffered from slavery. Because many of Dunbar’s poems do reflect images of slavery, some critics argue that “we” in the poem “We Wear the Mask” is referring to slaves. The poet is including himself as a part of the human race rather than speaking from personal experience. Again, critics will argue that the speaker is including himself within his race of people who endured slavery. For instance, line ten and eleven in the poem reads, “We smile, but O great Christ, our cries to thee from tortured souls arise.” Who are these tortured souls? Are they the abused, the mentally disturbed, the raped, the broken-hearted, the abandoned, or the confused? All races of mankind can experience torture in their souls. Overall, there is not enough substantial proof to indicate that the poem is written from the viewpoint of a single group or race. Furthermore, biographical research disproves this idea, for the poet was born in free-state Ohio, but he never faced the struggles of slave life(Carroll 2). The only accounts of slavery he knew were the second-hand stories about his parents and their experiences. From the start of the work, readers witness Dunbar’s use of the collective pronoun that demonstrates that this poem should be…

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