We Wear The Mask

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In “We Wear the Mask,” Paul Laurence Dunbar writes about the “mask” that human beings wear in front of other human beings to disguise any pain, sadness, or turmoil that they may be going through at the time. Dunbar states that humans often are not honest with those around them about their feelings because it is easier to make them believe everything is okay, and how true he is! He also states in the third stanza that we call on God when no one else is looking and we are in pain, but we would rather let the world see us smile. We would rather wear the mask. The form Dunbar uses to write this poem is iambic tetrameter. The rhyme scheme is AABBC. The words he chooses to use to get his point across are used well. For instance, in the first two lines he describes the mask as having a grin and being a liar. The choice of his words in these first two lines paints a picture of a deceitful face, one that is not honest. Since, normally, deceit and dishonesty are seen as bad things, the audience is left with the feeling that this mask that we wear is not a good thing. The audience feels right from the start that we are wrong to wear this mask because it lies. Then in the third stanza, he talks of our struggle behind the mask. And in the last line he uses the word “Dream” because when we think of dreams we think of something that is not real, and that is what Dunbar is trying to get across to the reader: this great facade, the “mask,” is not real, and the world is only seeing us in a

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