Reflection: African American and Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Lynn Dang
Ms. Cooper
English 112
April 25, 2006

Everyday people would look into the mirror and see a reflection of someone that they don't know at all looking back at them. Their reflection is different from what they are feeling inside themselves because they are hiding themselves from the world. If people wear a mask then they can fool the world but they usually can't fool themselves and their heart. That is because it is hard to lie to themselves and the world at the same time. In Paul Laurence Dunbar's Poem of "We Wear the Mask," Dunbar uses theme is this poem to show how people hide themselves from the world and why people, like the women and the African Americans, wear their masks of theirs throughout the years.

In the poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, "We Wear the Mask", Dunbar has written about how we are hiding ourselves everyday. Dunbar wants to express that we use masks to hide what we truly feel and what we think to ourselves, especially in his line, "with torn and bleeding hearts we smile, and mouth with myriad subtleties". That is because everyone seems to be judging us by what we think and what we feel. Therefore it is better for us to wear a mask to keep our true feelings from the world. Furthermore, people have to hide who they truly are from the world because the world seems to accept other people from something that they are not. Dunbar has stated "We wear the mask that grins and lies, it hides our cheeks, and the shades our eyes…"(1-2), which means that the mask that we wear is completely different from what we are feeling inside.

During the 1800s, when this poem was written by Dunbar, people weren't that open about their feelings and what they think about things especially the women during this time and the African Americans. The women and the African American people during the 1800s were considered as a minority of the White American Men. African Americans were still considered as slaves during and well before this...
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