Figurative language is defined as language that communicates ideas beyond the literal meaning of words. The use of figurative language can make descriptions and unfamiliar or difficult ideas easier for the reader to understand. The most popular types of figurative language, know as figures of speech, are similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperboles. This poem also uses a symbol. It is a mask. In the poem, "We Wear the Mask," there were several occurrences of figurative language. At the very beginning of the poem, the line "We wear the mask that grins and lies" is an example of personification; the mask is given human-like abilities. In this poem, the mask grins and lies, which hides the true feeling or facial expression on the face of the person or group of people, such as African Americans, wearing the "mask." In the line "With torn and bleeding hearts we smile," a hyperbole is used to exaggerate and place emphasis on the pain and psychological suffering that the African Americans were subject to at this time. Althought the hearts of many blacks were "torn and bleeding," they put on a mask which led many whites to believe that the African Americans truly were happy. Lines fourteen and fifteen state: "But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the maks." Personification is once again used because the world as an object cannot dream, but the people of the world can. The words "But let the world dream otherwise" refer to the fact that the African Americans knew what hey were really feeling inside, but since many blacks put on a mask, other white Americans believed everything was going well. No matter how much sufferring and pain the blacks were subjected to, they would let the world dream of happiness, because the masks concealed every true emotion felt by the African Americans.
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