"We Wear the Mask" Analysis

Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” is significant because it is a poem that expresses the African Americans constant hiding behind a exterior mask; hiding their true emotions in hopes to avoid public criticism. Because stereotypes are so easily placed on all people, especially blacks at this time, “We Wear the Mask” promotes readers to find deeper truths than the ingenuine emotions we see on the outside. This poem shows persistent humiliation the blacks deal with in attempt to hide their true feelings from the alien society.

It is also said that it more beneficial to them to be seen with the mask on so they will not have to be rejected with the world’s lack of sympathy. The last lines of “We Wear the Mask” shows people’s determination to keep their suffrage and natural feelings to themselves and outwardly show happiness and lack of care. The poem closes with a powerful statement: “But let the world dream otherwise, / We wear the mask!’ In conclusion, “We Wear the Mask” depicts the feeling of appearing to be content or happy, which several African Americans felt should be hidden behind the symbolism of a mask.

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