The Harlem Renaissance was a period in American history, which occurred in the 1920s in Harlem, New York. The cultural movement was an opportunity for African Americans to celebrate their heritage through intellectual and artistic works. Langston Hughes, a famous poet, was a product of the Harlem Renaissance. One notable piece of literature by Hughes is “Dream Deferred”. However, the discussion of African American culture isn’t limited to the 1920s. Paul Laurence Dunbar showed the potential struggles of being African American in his poem “We Wear the Mask”, written fifty-five years prior to “Dream Deferred”. Both poems share similar tones and themes. “Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes can serve as a sequel to “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar through displaying a cause and effect relationship which highlights the strength of neglect and disguises.
The poem I chose to analyze is We Wear the Mask, written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar in 1896. Its theme is about hiding our true feelings and emotions, and lying about who we are. When looking at Dunbar’s life history, and the political context at the time, we understand that he efficiently uses this theme in order to talk about how black people have to hide how they feel about their social status and the treatment they receive from white people. He conveys the theme to the audience thanks to a clever word choice. Indeed, he talks about “grin” and “smile”, using facial expressions as a description of the mask (Dunbar, lines 1 & 4). We realize he’s talking about the mask, and not the real emotions of the person, thanks to a contrast between negative
In Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear the Mask” the speaker wears a mask to hide his internal suffering because he does not want the rest of the world to think he is weak. This poem relates the prejudice black people face against white people. The speaker starts the poem with the lines, “We wear the mask that grins and lies,” (1). Here he describes the kind of “masks” that he wears.
The authors ability to create a dynamic character that has no identity and searches to find one is a feat attainable only by the best. The narrator’s motivations to buy the disguise may have begun as just a way to hide, but ended up being much more. The narrator continues to wear them as a way to have a new identity and to feel more important and less “invisible”. By knowing why the narrator wore a disguise, how he felt, and knowing the symbolic significance of wearing them we are able to have a deeper understanding of the character and his
In the poem We Wear the Mask Dunbar considers that African Americans directly after the Civil War had to put on a metaphorical mask to the shame and guilt of hiding their identity. But Dunbar thinks that this just continues to evoke more pain and suffering upon the wearers of such masks as the “world dreams otherwise.” Though they have their freedom, what is freedom from slavery when they are enslaved by their emotions? Just as the speaker puts on a mask because he feels threatened by a world that rejects him for the color of his skin and fears ending up alone, people in our society put on a mask of reserve and presentation because they feel threatened by social norms and fear the possibility of ending up alone, but rather than let these fears take hold those who let the mask fall away and reveal the identity beneath are most-in-touch with their emotions and themselves. I slide my yearbook down the table like it’s no big deal, but more and more it seems like people are signing me off.
Masks hide the truth and obscure the facts. They form a barrier between what is real and what is an illusion. Yet, during from the moment blacks were brought to this continent in chains, to the moment they were granted civil rights in the 1960’s, masks were a method of survival. Another way of life for African Americans was the practice of signifying. Signifying is mostly seen in the black literary tradition as a means for African Americans to take back power from the white through misinformation and deception.
As I read, Paul L. Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” I was interested in how he described what a mask represents. It is true that a mask was used to hide a person’s pain, emotion, or mood before the day known as Halloween developed. I love how Paul refers the use of the masks as a black or white person’s escape from other peoples’ worried faces. No one can ever understand what someone else is going through. People can never truly speak their truth or let out their suffering.
In “We Wear the Masks,” Dunbar displays the oppression and pressure that the black community faced in the late 19th century. With remaining unjust laws and unforgetting former slaves, Dunbar evaluates the saddened and fake expression that his community faced. His title indicates that the newly freed black population in America could not truly be themselves but had to wear a “mask” that made them acceptable to the white population. Dunbar unites his community by projecting them as a whole encountering a new form slavery together. The poem aims to express how the black population was forced to hide their continued suffering in order to not endanger their newly gained freedom.
The mask is the hard shell that young men are expected to face the world with. They are expected to show only their best selves and hide their insecurities and worries. The mask is incredibly relatable to the social construction of gender, because it was created through the social construction of gender. Young males would not need to create a mask and live behind it if society didn 't force them too.
He utilizes the mask when he says that “I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford…” (Fitzgerald ##). He wants everyone including Nick Carraway, the narrator, to know that he is a valuable and worthy person. However, it backfires when Nick Carraway says “I knew why
“When Malindy Sings” and “We Wear the Mask” are two popular poems written by Dunbar. Each touch on difficulties he and other African Americans face every day. However, “When Malindy Sings” is written in dialect, while “We Wear the Mask” is not. When looking at each poem, “We Wear the Mask” has to hide the true meaning of the poem beneath beautiful word play and descriptive word play. This important to note because only the African American community would understand the true underlying message of false contentment.
In “Lord Of The Flies” by William Golding, there are boys who are stranded on an island. These boys that are separated from society are shown to wear “masks”. I have created a mask that is like the character, Ralph, in “Lord Of The Flies”. It shows both my usual personality but also shows my real one. Most people wear masks and don't even know it.
The poem illustrates humans hiding themselves in a certain way in which people think of themselves. Jim struggles greatly with fitting into society and remain social order. As the poem states “we wear the mask that grins and lies” (Dunbar) the quote significance is that individuals lie to hide themselves and the mask is our shield. Similarity between Jim and the poem is very similar by hiding who you really are to survive in the world. Jim has to hide who he is because he is a runaway slave from Miss Watson.
The novel To Kill A Mockingbird exposes the reality behind the mask that people wear to protect themselves from ideas and thoughts that they have but don’t want to accept because they are scared to be vulnerable to society and possibly themselves. Throughout Harper Lee’s creation, though the mask is not directly shown or stated, it is implied in many situations. Maycomb county wears a mask that narrows their vision so they are unable to see other people’s side of things. The upper class white families in Maycomb are the most prone to this mask regarding to the fact everyone is below them, especially the black community.
These thoughts along with others couldn’t escape my mind as I was reading this. This quote also acts as a lesson. People aren’t always the way they seem. It only takes a small mask to cover the face of a monster. I can tell this quote is very significant to the book because this is a real