We Wear The Mask Dunbar Analysis

1236 Words5 Pages
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. The looping curl of the pen is the elegant goodbye my classmates can offer in words but would never bother to say in person. Words are written down. Words leave a record. Words on paper may fade like ink, but the words that people say leave indentations on the heart. As my yearbook is passed around, I turn my head away,…show more content…
I wasn’t getting people to sign my yearbook out of sentimentality, I wanted to know how they truly felt for once. The messages were of course a paper trial of artifice. Those faces all were masks “that grinned” and spewed “lies.” You’re nice and smart each message said in varying degrees, the safest most annoying words in the universe that were flat out drivel. I knew, and they knew that I was neither of those things, at least not to them. The poem We Wear the Mask generalizes that everyone has on a disguise that projects them in a better light to hide uglier deeper truths, but what it doesn’t say is words can do that
Open Document