We Wear The Mask Analysis

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“We Wear The Mask” and “Sympathy” are without a doubt two of the best written poems that a beleaguered poet, who struggled against the social norms of his time, would inevitably come up with. Though “Sympathy” and “We Wear The Mask” both speak of Dunbar’s regret for being imprisoned in his own situation, condemning the slavery of African Americans and the absence of opportunity for his own race, the two poems may also relate to how he felt confined in the literary standards of his era. Need Thesis Statement One unmistakable difference between the two poems is the metaphors, in the first poem Dubar expresses how he feels as though he is wearing a mask where as in the second poem he describes the feeling of being trapped in a cage. “We Wear The Mask” describes the …show more content…
One similarity being the topic of confinement and freedom. In both of the poems Dunbar expresses how he feels confined, even if it may be in two different ways. Both of the poems describe the feeling of being confined by other people and understand the pain of feeling confined but do nothing about it because they feel like they can’t. For example in “We Wear The Mask” the simple statement “We wear the mask” is clear conformity, even though Dunbar may or may not want to conform. Another example of this is in “Sympathy” when Dunbar expresses, “I know what the caged bird feels, alas! When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass” In these first lines of the poem, the speaker sets up a contrast between a confined space and an open space. By setting up this contrast between the confined space of the cage and an open landscape, Dunbar gives the reader a sense of just how restricted the bird feels. What's more, by telling us that he knows how the "caged bird feels," he's also telling us that, like the bird, he isn't free. Need Transition

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