The poem “We wear the mask” is a poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. It was written in the time when African Americans were discriminated. He uses combination of anger, despair, and sadness to create the tone. He also uses the metaphor of a mask to express the widespread oppression of African-Americans. The poem contains a lot of figurative language and it uses other literary elements as well.
The title itself reveals to the reader what the contents of the poem may include: ‘Nothing’s changed’ is quite definitive in itself as it shows that the poem will discuss how, even though the exposure of time, things stayed the same. However, what the title doesn’t disclose to the reader is whether the absence of change is for the better or for the worst as the answer is only revealed as you read through the poem. Set in the post-apartheid period, the poem which depicts a south-African town which has been torn apart due to racial segregation. Written in 6 stanzas, Tatamkhulu Afrika explicitly describes his anger as he descends deeper into the heart of District 6 – a town most notorious for its declaration of being a white only district in the 60’s. In no way at all does Afrika try to hide his emotions towards the town: ‘Hands burn for a stone, a bomb, to shiver down the glass.’ Ironic it is for him to say that his hands burn for a bomb, as in most contexts it is symbolic for destruction and genocide.
Published in 1896, “We Wear the Mask” is a lyric poem about oppressed black Americans forced to conceal their pain and frustration behind a cloak of happiness. During the time of the poem's publication, hostility and hate towards blacks was widespread throughout America. Although the Civil War had granted blacks their freedom from slavery and federal laws gave them the right to vote, own property, etc., they still were not treated as equals. Segregation become a big problem among blacks and whites. Schools, restaurants, libraries, even insignificant things such as water fountains were all segregated.
Compare the ways in which Sylvia Plath and Philip Larkin evaluate the perception of victimisation The theme I decided to focus on was the poets perception of victimisation. Both authors in these poems use this motif in different ways both having the personas in their poems having no control at the forefront of their storyline. The poems I decided to compare where Sunny Prestatyn, Ambulances, Daddy and Lady Lazarus. The poets choose to highlight these themes throughout their poems because both have gone through a form of victimisation. Whether in Plath’s case it’s through her father, husband, life in general she seems to feel.
Because she endured so much she recycled some of her experiences with the press into her contemporary writing. She wrote poems that addressed such themes as vindictiveness, self-destruction, betrayal, depression, suicide, and self-redemption (Heintz, 1999). “What’s It Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those Who Aren’t)” is a poem that Patricia wrote which seems to be based from her personal struggles that she dealt with in her life. The poem “What’s It Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those Who Aren’t)” describes
It is a colour that is associated with fear which is yet again reiterated from Lockwood’s reaction to Heathcliff on their first meeting. On the other hand “black” is also seen as a symbol of grief, which could suggest that Heathcliff’s devastation over Catherine’s death is still apparent after many years, even to the eyes of a stranger. Bronte uses the other characters’ perspectives to give the reader an idea of what Heathcliff’s personality is like. From the beginning we know that Heathcliff is to be an integral part of the story as Lockwood refers to him as “Mr Heathcliff”, however he refers to Joseph, the help, on a first name basis with no title in front of it, thereby further re-establishing
But in this poem, Hughes talks about how his dream had become so unreachable, that he almost forgot about it completely, and if you don't have a dream, what are you living for? The poem then speaks how he finally realized his dream but it has slowly come out of reach for him because (yet another realization) he's black. However, this unfortuante fact for him does not force him to give up since he almost lost the dream completely years ago. He speaks how he is going to "break through the wall" and achive this dream and at the same time, make an impact and be heard. This poem is very personal becuase it speaks of him; someone who has reached the edge of his life and came back and
Southerners continued to marginalize Blacks in their behavior toward ex-slaves and the later African American generation, continuing the escalation of racial tensions through white terror and discriminatory attitudes (Tindall & Shi, 2010, p. 759). Most subversively, southern newspapers propagated stereotypes against African Americans in their coverage and descriptions of constitutional conventions (Logue, 1979, p. 342). Although Radical Reconstruction offered some progress toward social equality after the Civil War, its success was short-lived as African Americans suffered vast disenfranchisement through racist rulings, attitudes, and media representation in the South at the turn of the century. Rulings against African Americans After the Civil War had come to an end, African Americans in the South quickly made use of their new-found political and social rights, employing their right to vote from the Fifteenth Amendment and serving as prominent political figures (Tindall & Shi, 2010, p. 722). However, the formerly fervent commitment to Radical Reconstruction soon dwindled (Tindall & Shi, 2010, p. 739).
Short response questions for Ain’t No Grave In the first section, “How to Speak to the Dead”, the speaker explores the darkness of the world by examining the myth of creation, history of the middle passage and her personal stories. The recurring themes are the discussion of the darkness and death and the speaker’s racial awareness towards being black. The structure of this section is a mixture of different aspects of darkness. The section starts with the idea that death is inevitable by saying “that we are not dead, yet know we will die”. Then the speaker tries to figure out what being dead is like by “speaking” to the Dead and finding out that “nothing gone stays gone”, suggesting that even after millions of deaths, African Americans still suffer from discrimination and oppression by whites.
It centralizes on the loneliness of the poet. The house seems to be dead for the poet which can be said by the very first line of the poem, “The house is so quiet now”. The poet has personified the vacuum with his dead wife; so that he can feel her presence in his life and she could take away his loneliness, grieves and the filth he feels in her absence. Personification has been used throughout the poem, which reflects the thoughts and feelings the poet had for his wife when she was alive. This can be seen in the seventh and eighth line of the poem, “But when my old woman died her soul/ Went into that vacuum cleaner.” So to the poet, the vacuum is his personified wife.