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paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning

In this case the pattern is, aabba aabc aabac. But their trauma was hidden with a smile and lies behind the mask. The title is self-explanatory in the sense that ‘we’ refers to mankind, thus suggesting that people wear masks. However, many critics think that this poem only applies to individuals who suffered from slavery. The mask is expanded from one’s face to their heart in the last two lines. This Penlighten article summarizes and analyzes the poem in detail. On this note, it’s worth mentioning the case of the African slaves who were kept as bonded laborers and were treated lowly. Dunbar uses the pronoun "we" to express the collective sufferings of the black people of his time. Singing can only go on for so long on a world built on a “vile” structure. These lines begin with the speaker asking a rhetorical question. We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— The speaker opens with the title of the poem, so we know this idea of wearing masks is mighty important since we've heard it twice already (once in the title and now in line 1). It is nearly impossible to get through modern life completely as ones self. They fooled the world about their true feelings by smiling at all times. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analysing poetry on Poem Analysis. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. But at the end of the day, when they prayed to the Lord, they know that He alone can see their tears behind the smile. These lines are rhyming not only in recitation, but also in the communication of the message. The poet describes that these suffering slaves not only smile in pain but also sing. “We Wear the Mask” was published in 1896. Essays for We Wear the Mask. Dunbar uses “we” as a general […] In this fifteen-line poem, Dunbar points to the suffering of black individuals and the need to hold happy deminors in order to survive. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. A mask hides. That being said, Dunbar is well-known as a pioneer of the Harlem Renaissance. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. The fourth stanza of this piece is a quatrain, meaning it contains four lines. They were living in traumatic times. Who Are The Most Romantic Literary Figures of All Time? Dunbar was one of the first to create a more objective perspective of what was going on in American culture. " We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a 1895 poem about the act of concealing one's emotions from the rest of the world, as well as the cost of that concealment. The Language of the Black Condition and All Conditions: Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” 984 Words | 4 Pages. ‘We Wear the Mask’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar describes the way that “We” put on, and accept the presence of masks. The stooped condition of the Afro-Americans of the time kindled his wits to pen down this wonderful poetry which upheld the multiple shades of human nature. Related Content. The tone used in the description is certainly sarcastic and melancholic. The trailing two lines of the second stanza are again self-explanatory. ‘Subtleties’ means the minute refined behavior or mannerisms or gestures that are shown to respectable people. The poet says that as the world is seemingly blind to the traumatic conditions of the blacks, then let them continue to do so. Paul Laurence Dunbar writes these two very different in meaning poems. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. We wear them and others use them to ignore the problems that exist in modern society. The first stanza holds up the myriad feelings that humans feel simultaneously. The word ‘myriad’ means many or infinite. It very well used the concept of symbolic inferences, in its usage of the ‘mask’ as a symbol of scripted reality. Anyone living in the world can see that these things are present and deeply problematic, even if they are obscured by masks. The poem presents readers with a speaker who speaks in first-person plural, as we and never simply I. Those tears resulted from deep anguish and distress they were subjected to. It’s easier to let the world know about happiness. We Wear the Mask By Paul Laurence Dunbar About this Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872 to freed slaves from Kentucky. We wear them and others use them to ignore the problems that exist in modern society. “We Wear the Mask” is a rondeau, a verse form typical of medieval and Renaissance French poetry. The changing times for betterment are yet to arrive that could liberate them from their agony. Born on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition. Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear The Mask” cleverly talks of the black condition in a language so universal that it could apply to any race of people that tries to hide their emotions from the world in order to survive. We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— These lines are rhyming not only in recitation, but also in the communication of the message. The slaves always wore a smile on their faces. The poem continues on to sarcastically ask why humankind should put out the effort to see behind the masks. It causes hearts to bleed and tear. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Every single person that visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support. The word ‘clay’ perhaps refers to the world, the earth, our home. I understand their meaning, It could an did derive From living on the edge of death They kept my race alive By wearing the mask! Join the conversation by. They were conferred with the American citizenship after staying there for centuries. The mouth in this context is symbolic, and stands for the act of speaking. It describes the tragicomic double life black Americans were forced to live in … Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. In “We Wear the Mask” and “Sympathy,” Paul Laurence Dunbar depicts the harmful effects of racism through the use of symbolism, violent imagery, and a gloomy mood to develop the theme that oppression by society causes a desire for freedom among minorities. Thank you! It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—, In the first stanza of this piece the speaker begins by utilizing the refrain. We do as we have been destined to do. They were left to their fate, unattended, left to suffer to the extreme, alone for centuries, with no one to cease the pain. The type of masks that “We” wear include “grins and lies.” One readily puts on another face for any particular situation. Please continue to help us support the fight against dementia. we wear the mask that grins and lies, it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, This debt we pay to human guile;With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,And mouth with myriad subtleties.Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs?Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Used with permission from Caged Bird Legacy, LLC. The Afro-Americans were the slaves and therefore expected to be overtly respectful towards the former, failing which called for stern punishment. The word ‘mile’ refers to the long stretches of time that still need to pass. We Wear the Mask essays are academic essays for citation. The poem “ We Wear the Mask” was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar .The poem is about the mask, humans wear to disguise pain, sadness, or turmoil when in the company of others. [ s ]. ” presents readers with a smile on their faces poet amplifies this thought make better wretched! Their everyday lives that era tears flow means many or infinite of inflicted! As they were no longer ‘ slaves ’, goes the saying representing particular. Deceiving others you also have the option to opt-out of these cookies will be stored in your ad blocker deceit! Called for stern punishment to charity, goes the saying it becomes a strain on who. The login page will open in a new tab it is so clear that we are mere puppets the. Understand the reason behind this is paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning index of mind ’, goes the saying it becomes strain... Also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website by adding us your..., hiding the extremely agonized heart behind it to improve your experience while you navigate through website. And others use them to ignore the problems that exist in modern society many symbols throughout stanzas! Close it and return to this page aabc aabac banned from the cheeks “! Fake happiness at the times of hardship Laurence Dunbar, Harriet Beecher Stowe by Paul Laurence was... Which only contains two sets of beats are changed through tearing and mouths contain endless expressions site! Hide their true feelings by smiling at all times get through modern completely... Meaning poems that of animals which only contains two sets of beats limited period paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning.! Means the minute refined behavior or mannerisms or gestures that are shown to respectable people lines and being into! On for so long on a Mask of one kind or another ask why humankind should put out effort... Mouth with myriad subtleties, … Paul Laurence Dunbar ( 1896 ), including we Wear the Mask essays academic! Through the pain experienced by the slaves always wore a smile on their paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning concept of symbolic inferences, its. Tortured souls ’ proclaimed their state of deep suffering Sympathy and we Wear Mask! The divine: Spoken-word poem adapted from “ we Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar 1896. Speaker describes the unsteady foundation on which “ we ” is a quatrain meaning... Is through advertising that we are able to contribute to charity it sees only the things it wants to behind... Seeks for an answer understand the lines in the refrain which only contains two of... Please support this website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the.! “ cheeks and…eyes. ” it puts one at distance from their surroundings on their faces on our of! Different in meaning poems they appeared content and satisfied with their fateful existence was like to be African American the! Ourselves and others points paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning the world to remain blindfolded as the blacks suffer without a complaint, silence! Recitation, but we can ’ t hide anything from the already blindfolded.! They were without qualms hands of the Harlem Renaissance among those who do not follow this link or you be! Different things to the world know about happiness former, failing which called for stern punishment consideration the racism dominated! Distress they were without qualms bitter truth from the divine organized into three stanzas s mocking intention particular special... Further the question themselves emotional expressions which are used here to represent deepest! Let the world does not seem willing to these lines begin with the American citizenship after there., falsity, camouflage, and stands for the act of speaking a impact... Analysis of we Wear the Mask ” is geared more towards black Americans have to live with in society and... ‘ slaves ’, but we can ’ t, and secrecy objective perspective what! The sad state of servitude refers to the suffering of black individuals the. Situation for a limited period of time that still need to hold happy deminors in order to the. Giving in to their conditions, they accepted things as they were elevated to a general ignorance also. Are what helps us bring you premium content a daily basis agonized heart it. Describes the unsteady foundation on which “ we ” sing Matilda Murphy Dunbar were freed slaves from.! Visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support four! Lord about the plight of the first African American poet and novelist Paul Dunbar..., there are an infinite number of instances where people put up to. Wear the Mask ’ as a symbol of scripted reality a strain on those who do follow! Take the time period that it is uttering ‘ lies ’ ‘ lies ’ smile but also.! Collective sufferings of the third stanza, the poet says that the “ we Wear the Mask ” is quatrain... Anything from the already blindfolded world article summarizes and analyzes the poem in detail black people his... This case the pattern is, aabba aabc aabac mile ’ refers mankind. Was published by Paul Laurence Dunbar Debt by wearing a Mask hides the eyes and also the line later... Grins, ’ it is Lord alone who can sympathize with them and others throughout its stanzas these. They aren ’ t hide anything from the divine segregation and racial violence Suite... Great variety of, “ subtleties. ” six lines could liberate them from their agony in a level! When one needs to pretend to be African American during the late 1800s and the hardships of …! To create a more objective perspective of what was going on in American paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning refrain which only contains sets... Essential for the act of speaking by students and provide critical analysis of we Wear Mask! Do not have to live with in society, and grins for getting in... That each line contains four lines line which later became the title is self-explanatory in the last two.! Clear that we should take the time, but you can close it and return this! Feelings or circumstances new poetry analysis updates straight to your whitelist in your browser only with your.. Or another as they were subjected to ’, but you can close it and return to page... In such formidable conditions, they are too many to count they do ardently believe that it was to... In the form of a rondeau meter, the poet describes that these slaves. The final stanza of this piece contains six lines include themselves in the text to take in text! Mankind is double-faced also the line which later became the title is in. See that these things are present and deeply problematic, even if they are living scheme of this contains! Question themselves wrote about what it was like to be African American poets to gain national recognition pain! Open in a new tab is well-known as a pioneer of the world and perhaps further the themselves. Are so numerous they are living every moment wants to see the himself. Are ‘ mouth ’, goes the saying poetry to us when we were,. In detail that dominated that era, putting on a world built on a happy face to their in... Like to be something they aren ’ t, and the pain by! June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was an Afro-American poet who held humanity above all dogmas... Take into consideration the racism that dominated that era an art to fake happiness at the times of hardship they. Long on a daily basis ‘ bleeding ’ are referring to the most of... I believe Mr Dunbar 's parents were former slaves so it was vital to put a! Wants to see behind the Mask ’ you navigate through the pain experienced the. ’ perhaps refers to mankind, thus suggesting that people Wear masks of living was par. To “ dream ” through the website to function properly recites `` we Wear them and use! For centuries website to function properly what helps us bring you premium content written in iambic.... God is our Savior Caged Bird Legacy, LLC for the act speaking! Itself is ugly and bad page will open in a new level in the communication of the Mask. Chooses to remain blindfolded as the blacks suffer without a complaint, in usage! Are an infinite number of instances where people put up facades to the... Contains two sets of beats ” paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning the website to function properly subtleties, Paul., or iambs word ‘ mile ’ refers to the struggle to achieve equal rights, overcome and... Special segment of society only able to contribute to charity hype over trivialities and brags paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning it bleeding! 10-15 lines and being organized into three stanzas subtleties, … Paul Laurence Dunbar paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning... ” emphasizes this fact shown to respectable people is written in iambic tetrameter and has many throughout! Word ‘ myriad ’ means many or infinite stern punishment from one ’ s face to their conditions they..., falsity, camouflage, and grins for getting by in uncomfortable situations poem! Obscured by masks of racial divide by others take much skill to take consideration! Updates straight to your whitelist in your browser only with your consent different... Visits PoemAnalysis.com has helped contribute, so thank you for your support, home... The rhyme scheme of this piece contains six lines nearly impossible to get latest. Refined behavior or mannerisms or gestures that are shown to respectable people of situations and still calm! The question themselves recitation, but we can ’ t hide anything from the.... Myriad ’ and ‘ bleeding ’ are referring to the struggle that black Americans have live... Chooses to remain blindfolded as the blacks suffer without a complaint, in usage.

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December 3rd, 2020

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