Now, to understand the reason behind the poet's statement that mankind wears masks, we need to understand the poem line-by-line. The poem is broken up into three stanzas. The historical implication is clear: regardless of emancipation and abolition and Reconstruction, blacks at all times must show publicly demonstrate the debt they owe for being free through an exhibition of happy contentment. Dunbar followed The Strength of Gideon with his second novel, The Love of Landry 1900 , about an ailing woman who arrives in Colorado for convalescence and finds true happiness with a cowboy. Emotions are part of everyday life, but not everyone feels the need to express themselves honestly.
Dunbar also speaks in a muffled voice. These kinds of problems are still around today, and if folks don't speak up about them, none of us can really expect to see them change, right? Dunbar writes this poem in lyric poem form. There is an example of assonance in the third stanza. Paul Laurence Dunbar by English 102 August 4, 1995 Outline Thesis: The major accomplishments of Paul Laurence Dunbar's life during 1872 to 1938 label him as being an American poet, short story writer, and novelist. Dunbar expresses his anger of having to hide his emotions. The poem starts with Dunbar speaking for the entire black community. He was continually 1654 Words 7 Pages was born.
Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? They in the true nature of deceiving are wearing a deceitful smile, hiding the extremely agonized heart behind it. When they are being lynched and discriminated against, they are forced to take it and mask their true emotions with a smile. . Throughout this essay I will discuss, describe and interpret Sympathy and We Wear the Mask. This poem was written in 1895, which is around the era when slavery was abolished.
This is truly an enthralling question which still seeks for an answer. The poem is about a person describing all the jobs she has had over the years, concluding that the one job she would not do again would be a phone telemarketer because she did not like to hear the disappointment in the voices on the other end of the phone when they realized it was just a salesperson calling. The poem anticipates, and presents in terms of passionate personal regret, the psychological analysis of the fact of blackness in Frantz Fanon's Peau Noire, Masques Blancs, with a penetrating insight into the reality of the black man's plight in America: We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,-- This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties. The second stanza, especially, emphasizes the poems paradox and alliteration. That the mask is specifically intended to present an untruthful person is demonstrated by observation that the mask is part of a debt that must be paid. Thus talking about wearing the mask yet again.
The word 'clay' perhaps refers to the world, the earth, our home. It hides the teary eyes and also the tears flowing from the cheeks. Although Dunbar questions the prudence of such commitment, he sees the trap that white bigots have set for themselves: they continue dreaming. The poet says that as the world is seemingly blind to the traumatic conditions of the blacks, then let them continue to do so. The poet describes that these suffering slaves not only smile in pain but also sing.
The final stanza is a plea to God, or in other words an apostrophe. Times were tough in America during the turn of the century before the days of Netflix and Slurpees. No matter how a slave was treated, how hard he had to work, or how little he had, hedid have total control of his own thoughts and beliefs. Written by Timothy Sexton The poems overarching theme of African-Americans being forced to subdue their identity and submit to an enforced masquerade is made manifest from the very opening line which asserts a collective experience through its pronoun choice and the description of that mask as one that presents an outwardly cheery countenance which is, in fact, a lie. He was the first to see objectively its humor, its superstitions, its short-comings; the first to feel sympathetically its heart-wounds, its yearnings, its aspirations, and to voice them all in a purely literary form. Dunbar being an African American poet in the late 19th and early 20th century was a harder time on colored people. Paul Laurence Dunbar used vivid, descriptive and symbolic language to portray images in his poetry of the senseless prejudices and racism that African Americans… 1762 Words 8 Pages sonnet as a play where the characters are covered by masks.
They were conferred with the American citizenship after staying there for centuries. In the first two lines of the third stanza, the poet amplifies this thought. Thomas, Maurice Duke, and Jackson R. This further stresses the idea of the mask, being concealing and elusive, in many ways. On the strength of his recent acclaim Dunbar commenced a six-month reading tour of England.
Dunbar used eight lines in each stanza. The formal diction of many of them demands this. We all lie, in one form or another, be it a big lie or a little white one. Which words reveal this tone? The lives of many Africans changed for they were elevated to a new level in the societal race. The above quoted lines shed light on the fact that, the world doesn't need to be told about the plight and misery of the slaves of that time.
As one of the first professional African American literary figures Baym 1038 , Paul Laurence Dunbar's poetry consists of two distinct styles: his dialect pieces with the simple rhyme schemes of the ballad lyrical. There are influences that we see and some that are perpetuated on our thinking. With the short story collection The Heart of Happy Hollow 1904 , Dunbar presented a greater variety of perspectives on aspects of Black life in America; the collection included a tale on the morally reprehensible practice of lynching. On a broader note, the poem states the impact of sufferings inflicted on the minority on grounds of racial divide. Dunbar suffered further critical setback with his next novel, The Fanatics 1901 , about America at the beginning of the Civil War.
We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties. Fascinated by the representation of regional language generally, Dunbar experimented with German-American, Irish-American, and Midwestern dialects. This poem deals directly with the racism that African-Americans faced. Copyright © 1975 by Jay Martin. To be able to endure this daily persecution, these people had to draw on their inner strength.