We Wear the Mask Poem Analysis

  • Category: Literature, Poems,
  • Words: 614 Pages: 3
  • Published: 15 May 2021
  • Copied: 101

"We Wear the Mask" is the best poetry in the world, it talks about the battle of being a part of a persecuted gathering. The speaker is a member of a community of individuals who must always "cover" their genuine sentiments whereas displaying a cheerful confrontation to the world. As a result, these individuals viably have two personalities: a genuine self, covered up behind the cover, and the self they display to get by in a partial society. 

The title "We Wear the Mask" is also repeated. As a result of its repetition in all stanzas, it has become a refrain. There is an illustration of metaphor that persists although the base of the sonnet. The speaker clarifies the significance of the mask at the beginning of the poem, describing that this metaphorical cover is a device utilized for deceiving others. As the speaker proceeds, the cover is uncovered to be more than a straightforward trick, intended to deceive others out of entertainment, this mask is utilized to shroud its wearers' agony and languishing. A lot of rhyming schemes are used throughout the poem, on lines one and two he rhymes “lies with eyes'' and the rhyming scheme continues till line 15. Paradox was used in the comparison of contrary impressions such as that of sadness and joy, He compares his “ Joy ” with his sadness as  African Americans are forced to hide their painful realities and frustrations under the mask of happiness. “O great Christ, our Cries / To thee from tortured souls arise,” Dunbar writes in the opening lines of the third stanza. In an appeal for Christ's help, the poet speaks explicitly to him. He uses  Apostrophe by speaking directly to someone who does not exist.

The repetition of the pronouns "We" and "our" to refer to African Americans is another literary technique used in the poem. The word "we" appears about seven times in the poem, while "our" appears five times. The use of these group pronouns over and over highlights the number of individuals who are persecuted. A rhetorical question is used on line 7 “ In counting all our tears and sighs? ”. Constance is used on line 10 ” We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries” and again on line 6 “Why should the world be over-wise.” The poem uses personification in many places. “Let the world dream,” and “We wear the mask that grins and lies” are two personifications in which the world and the mask are shown to have human attributes. “This debt we pay to human guile”: The debt is metaphorical to the deception, rather than a transaction.  “And mouth with myriad subtleties” is hyperbole that exaggerates the degree to which the mask-wearers must conceal their true feelings behind subtle, self-censored expressions. The word “myriad” refers to an amount that is so high that it is uncountable, and therefore “myriad subtleties” is hyperbole that exaggerates the degree to which the mask-wearers must conceal their true feelings behind subtle, self-censored expressions. “We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries / To thee from tortured souls arise” The mask wearers’ desperation for redemption and empathy is shown by the Biblical allusion to Jesus Christ. 

Dunbar’s poem is outstanding not only because it is very rich in literary devices, imagery and symbolism. It also discusses major problems that were silenced during the 19th century after the civil war spreading awareness. The theme of the poem is  endurance, The speaker explains profound and long-term misery during "We Wear the Mask." The characters in this poem have "torn and bleeding hearts," "tears and sighs," and are "tortured souls" who must keep pretending they aren't suffering. The poem does, however, have a sense of resiliency flowing through it. Wearing this "scar" serves as a constant reminder of their oppression, but it also serves as a form of resistance fostering a sense of community and mutual strength that encourages them to persevere in the face of such adversity.


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