We Wear The Mask Analysis

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It is doubtful that there are any human beings on Earth that have not donned a mask of some sort. Some masks come in the form of the very clothes we wear, while others may be as intangible as our self-presentation. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies details the story of how one group of British boys establishes a civilization on a desert island only to watch it fall apart due to infighting and savagery; it is essentially a study of masks and how they influence human behavior and identity, ultimately resulting in a cautionary tale about letting emotions fester. Other works, such as Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” and Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory,” provide insights as to what masks are worn by humans every day; while Dunbar’s perspective as a post-emancipation African-American reflects the need for dignity in the midst of post-war persecution and prejudice, Robinson’s perspective as a middle-class American distorts the American Dream through the suicide of its title character. In Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the portrayal of masks’ functions aligns with their presentation in Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask” and Robinson’s poem “Richard Cory” in that they are utilized to retain dignity and disguise emotions; however, they differ in that Golding’s masks hide inner feelings for the purpose of appearing normal to society and maintaining an identity, while Dunbar’s and Robinson’s masks hide intrapersonal problems for the purpose of maintaining others’
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