Comparing Good Country People And Paul Laurence Dunbar's They Wear The Mask

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People often “wear a mask,” hiding their true identity from society in order to cope with difficult or potentially violent situations, or to control society’s perception of them. Because of America’s difficult past, particularly the aftermath of slavery and the fall of the genteel South, this “mask” often appears in American Literature. Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” is a poem showing the raw pain that was felt in the 1890s, particularly within African American community. Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” is a short story about people who use the idea of the mask to hide their flawed personalities from a judgmental society. Although these two works are from very different times and have different reasons for wearing the …show more content…
She does this by showing all of these corrupt characters in her story who have lost their morality. A perfect example of lose of morality is Manley who preys on peoples religous beliefs to steal handicapped people’s body parts. Jordan writes, “She is a literary artist, not a preacher or teacher or moral philosophy. She believes that fiction is art, not primarily moral instruction,” (52). I disagree with Jordan, it appears to me that O’Connor is writing her stories to show Americans that we have completely lost our morality. She gives us insight to her characters so we can see that they wear the mask to hide their flaws, with the hopes that we as readers will reflect and make an effort to be more understanding of one …show more content…
In his poem he expresses the pain that African Americans have endured and how they have to wear a mask to disguise this pain in hopes to have equal rights someday. Morgan writes, “ To be financially successful while maintaining his political and aesthetic stance, Dunbar had to create literary strategies capable of critiquing the social, political, economic, and cultural problems facing African Americans that, at the same time, would not explicitly confront white readers’ internalized beliefs regarding blacks,” (7). I agree with Morgan, Dunbar did have to think creatively to disguise his true message of pain without offending or upsetting white Americans. He wrote these poems describing the pain with the hopes that someday whites and blacks would both be equal and no longer need to wear the mask to disguise the

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