It’s easier to let the world know about happiness. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. I believe Mr Dunbar's parents were former slaves so it was vital to put on a happy face to survive. Our site includes quite a bit of content, so if you're having an issue finding what you're looking for, go on ahead and use that search feature there! Dunbar wrote about what it was like to be African American during the late 1800s and the pain experienced by the black community. Let’s understand the lines in the light of the Afro-Americans. The trailing two lines of the second stanza are again self-explanatory. The type of masks that “We” wear include “grins and lies.” One readily puts on another face for any particular situation. The login page will open in a new tab. The final stanza of this piece contains six lines. It veils the reality and creates an impression of something that is unreal in order to hide the reality. Paul Laurence Dunbar [1872-1906] was the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. In the final lines the speaker explains that the “vile” clay stretches on far “Beneath our feet.” It lasts for miles on end. The lives of many Africans changed for they were elevated to a new level in the societal race. Please log in again. The mouth in this context is symbolic, and stands for the act of speaking. This likely means that the “We” is geared more towards black Americans. After all, there are an infinite number of instances where people put up facades to hide their true feelings or circumstances. ‘Subtleties’ means the minute refined behavior or mannerisms or gestures that are shown to respectable people. He does no expect to receive an answer. Paul Laurence Dunbar writes these two very different in meaning poems. It hides the teary eyes and also the tears flowing from the cheeks. Paul Laurence Dunbars We Wear the Mask combines salient features of verse essay and poetic meditation as it examines the need for a special kind of social dissembling in the world in which the author lived at the end of the nineteenth century. Lies, for when one needs to pretend to be something they aren’t, and grins for getting by in uncomfortable situations. The fourth stanza of this piece is a quatrain, meaning it contains four lines. We do as we have been destined to do. The African slaves were granted freedom, following the bloody Civil War, which is remembered for the ghastly instances that occurred during the war. Positivity and optimism can only last so long on a faulty foundation. The poem continues on to sarcastically ask why humankind should put out the effort to see behind the masks. A mask hides. In such formidable conditions, they narrated poems and sang songs that could motivate them to bear that kind of inhuman treatment. MayaAngelou.com. Let them rather see the ‘masked’ faces of the blacks where they are smiling and creating the notion that they are happy and merry. Having said all of these, the poet goes back to the initial phase, that is to keep wearing the mask of happiness and smile, so that the world doesn’t get a cue of their sufferings and believes that they are really happy people, which in reality is a complete antithesis of reality.
2020 paul laurence dunbar we wear the mask meaning