Puttin On Masks Analysis

561 Words3 Pages
During one of Mark’s writing classes, Francisco is clearly frustrated with his situation and says, “That’s what this place is all about. Puttin on masks” (50). Francisco is not referring to the masks that people wear during Halloween or at masquerade parties. He is referring to the masks people wear to conceal who they are or how they feel. Mark Salzman, author of, “True Notebooks,” explains how he allows juvenile offenders to write about any topic, except their court case. Francisco clearly admits to Mark and his classmates that he wears a mask while in custody. In his essay he writes, “I know in here sometimes I have to put a mask on and become somebody that I am really not, but that’s how you survive in here. I might seem like if…show more content…
Kevin puts on a mask to conceal the pain he still feels at losing both his parents in a collision. He also wears a mask of maturity in the presence of hard-core inmate from the penitentiary. He tells Mark, “Since we bein’ tried as adults, we get put in the same holding tanks as the guys from the pen” (73). Kevin has learned at a young age the need to put on a mask so that he’s not seen as weak. In addition to these juvenile inmates, Mark Salzman, their teacher, also wears a mask. Mark, who doesn’t like teenagers and gangsters, is very nervous when he visits Duane’s writing class. He knows the juveniles in this class have all been charged with murder. Mark says, “I didn’t want to challenge anyone, so I struggled to keep my gaze from meeting any of theirs” (18). Mark puts on a mask of courage so that the juvenile inmates don’t become aware that he is nervous and scared like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. InL.A.’s Central Juvenile Hall, inmates like Francisco, Jimmy, and Kevin wear a mask for protection. They don’t want to be perceived as being weak. They have learned that weak prisoners get harassed and assaulted. They will continue puttin’ on masks for their own
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