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Racism in Paul Laurence Dunbar “We Wear the Mask”

By markelwaller Nov 15, 2012 397 Words
Racism in Paul Laurence Dunbar “We Wear the Mask”
“We Wear the Mask,” is a wonderful poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The poem deals directly with racism that African- Americans faced throughout that time. Dunbar told this poem about racism and the pain and suffering that he and others felt. Langston Hughes uses a specific vocabulary, informal language, and specific structure to present the pain and suffering slaves felt. The views of the whole African- American community are expressed because of Dunbar’s use of the word “we.” The poem starts with Dunbar speaking for the entire Black community. That he expresses his anger of having to hide his emotions. When African Americans are being lynched and discriminated against, they were forced to take it and mask their true emotions with a smile. Mr. Dunbar used informal language back in that time, it seems likely that he is fairly in his early Because Dunbar was so young, people would have to actually listen and picture what he was saying in this poem. Also he teacher helped him get his poems out there were people would listen and understand. The fourth line explains, “That African Americans were not allowed to verbalize their ideas. With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, and mouth myriad subtleties” (3-4). He tried to cry out to the lord for help, but they continue to be discriminated against and had to smile. The tone of the poem is a combination of anger, sorrow, and despair. This poem has a very interesting rhyme pattern: aabba aabc aabbac. This poem has been broken down into three stanzas. They are all different lengths with the first stanza having five lines, the second having four, and the third having six. The last lines in the second and the third stanza are both “We Wear the Mask.” It was important to notice the fact that those two lines are indented. Also they are different, because they are the only lines to contain only four syllables. With the exception of those two lines and line 5, the rest of the poem is written in iambic tetrameter. Repition is used in “We Wear the Mask.” “We Wear the Mask,” is used once in every stanza and is the title of the poem. This helps to emphasize the horrors that the African Americans had to go through in the past.

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