The Mask

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The Mask
The mask is a form of deception or illusion. Sometimes, it can be worn as both. It hides the true emotions of slaves, keeping the slave master from knowing what is going on in their minds. The mask also allows the slave to have an identity without the master's detection. The mask gives the illusion that the slave is exactly how the masters believe, ignorant, incapable of true emotion, and unable to think for themselves. A perfect depiction of the mask can be found in Charles Chestnutt's The Passing of Grandison. Colonel, Grandison's master, believed that he would never try to escape if allowed to go on a journey with his son, Dick. The colonel recommends to Dick that he bring Grandison along on his travels. "What's the matter with Grandison?" suggested the colonel. " He's handy enough, and I reckon we can trust him. He's too fond of good eating to risk losing his regular meals; besides, he's sweet on your mother's maid, Betty…" ( 536)

The colonel's belief in Grandison as a faithful servant, proves that he was in fact deceived by the mask that Grandison was wearing. In another passage, colonel is discussing with Grandison if he feels better off than the free negroes that don't have " no kind master to look after them and no mistress to give them medicine." Grandison replies with an answer that reflecting his accommodation to colonel.

" Well, I sh'd jes reckon I is better off, suh, dan dem low- down free niggers, suh! Ef anybody ax'em who dey B'long ter, dey has ter say nobody, er e'se lie erbout it. Anybody ax me who I B'longs ter, I ain' got no ‘casion ter be shame ‘ter tell ‘em, no, suh, ‘deed I ain', suh!" (536)

By Grandison replying in this matter, he used the mask to deceive the colonel and fool him into thinking that he never thought about being free. He was able to make the colonel believe that he was indeed content. Not...
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