Paul Lawrence Dunbar We Wear The Mask Analysis

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Paul Lawrence Dunbar was one of the most famous poets of his time. His poems were all different ways of expressing slavery, racism, and discrimination. He grew up in a time when black people were being separated from white people, when black people were being hung by different groups of white people, and when trouble was being pointed towards them (Williams). All of these situations he grew up with affected the people that he talks about in his poems (Williams). Even though Dunbar never specifically says who he is talking about in his poem, readers understood who the poems were about because of the life experiences Dunbar had faced (Carroll). Dunbar’s poems show both sides of black lives, which include the joy and the sorrow (Laryea 11). Another way Dunbar had shown the way African Americans were treated differently was by the dialect in his poems; he used dialect to show the way white people used to view slaves and other black people. The dialect consists of incorrect spelling and usage (Dempsey). Many people did not like the way Dunbar wrote. They thought his grammar was poor and called his writings “broken tongue” (Williams). Overall, he …show more content…
“We Wear the Mask” tells readers that everything that is seen and heard is not the whole truth. On the outside, people seem so simple and plain. However, what is not seen can be too complex to even understand (Carroll). The mask in this poem represents a cover or disguise that all the black people wear: “We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries/ To thee from tortured souls arise,” (Dunbar: “We Wear the Mask”). This quote suggests a contrast between what people can see and what they can not see. The mask covers their true feelings and emotions. The mask represents what society wants, and what is under the mask represents the black people’s actual selves. In this poem, the phrase “we wear the mask” is used three different

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