His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career. Despite being a fine student, Dunbar was financially unable to attend college and took a job as an elevator operator. Ina former teacher invited him to read his poems at a meeting of the Western Association of Writers; his work impressed his audience to such a degree that the popular poet James Whitcomb Riley wrote him a letter of encouragement. To help pay the publishing costs, he sold the book for a dollar to people riding in his elevator.
There are certain situations like this that come to my mind. Every so often, my family gets together. As a teenager, I do not want to be confined.
I realize some of my relatives are a lot older than me and I should spend as much time with them as I can. When my family gets together, I frequently am forced to go to these events and put a smile on my face.
I am putting on my "mask" and pretending that I am happy. People thought they were happy doing the work they did for the white culture. In reality, they were not. That is the point Dunbar tries to explain to his readers. I have never published a poem attacking what my family makes me do and how I put on a joyous face.
Granted, being forced to go to a family reunion is so trivial compared to climbing out of slavery.
Fortunately, for African Americans, the turn of the 20th century was when they started to come out from behind the masks. Dunbar uses irony to express what the mask really is.
As the poem opens, I for one was confused at what it was about. With no prior of Paul Laurence Dunbar, I had no idea what to expect.
The opening lines of the poem read "We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes. I believed he was explaining the difference between himself on and off stage.
It turns out I was totally wrong after reading through the rest of the poem. The mask is a symbol. It is a symbol of the heartache each African-American faced in the 19th century.
The heartache they rarely displayed because of the fear of what would happen to them if they began an uprising against the white culture. They were unable to show any emotion. The third and fourth lines of the poem are very powerful, particularly the fourth.+ free ebooks online. Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day?
Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. This lesson will examine Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem, 'We Wear the Mask,' relative to historical context, literary technique, and overall tone and meaning.
Paul Laurence Dunbar was born on June 27, to freed slaves from Kentucky.
He became one of the first influential Black poets in American literature, and was internationally acclaimed for his dialectic verse in collections such as Majors and Minors () and Lyrics of.
Paul Laurence Dunbar was born on June 27, to freed slaves from Kentucky. He became one of the first influential Black poets in American literature, and was internationally acclaimed for his dialectic verse in collections such as Majors and Minors () and Lyrics of.
Analysis of We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar Essay - Analysis of We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a renowned piece of literature that has been the subject of various literary criticisms over the years. By the end we understand that all of the politeness and subdued emotions are just phony disguises of the painful truths that hide behind them.
And those masks certainly aren't doing anyone any favors.