Analysis of We Wear the Mask In one of Paul Lawrence Dunbars most famous poems We Wear the Mask, he describes the harsh reality of the black race in America and how they hide their grief, sadness, and broken hearts under a mask for a survival strategy towards whites. 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. In the first verse, the mask is taken off. The We of the poem describes the black community that lives a double life, the masked and the unmasked. Dunbar included the word mask in his poem because historically it was a false deceptive role-playing that was acceptable for a survival strategy by blacks and it maintained a sense of empowerment in a racial society. The word lies is a simple word but the mask not only lies to the whites, but to the person who is wearing the mask that start to live by it. Dunbar uses the word mouth as a verb, which intensifies our expressive genuine facial features that never lies. In life, the mask is the concealment of those features that reveal tears that give quality to a smile. The masks when worn is always smiling but underneath are the torn and broken heart of ones soul and this debt we pay to human guile. The debt that the black community is paying dearly by wearing the mask everyday for the cunning white race with myriad subtleties, the black race that wants to speak out and be heard. Why should the world be otherwise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. The second verse, the mask is replaced. The word overwise, Dunbar recognizes that the black people knew too much for their own good. They knew that if they were to speak out that they would be condemned for knowing too much in which they stru…
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