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Personification And Metaphor In Two Of Paul Dunbar´S Poems

1230 words - 5 pages

The poem “ We Wear the Mask” was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar .The poem is about the mask, humans wear to disguise pain, sadness, or turmoil when in the company of others. The speaker opens with the title of the poem so that readers know that the “mask” is really important.In the beginning of the poem we see that the people’s hearts are not just"torn" (4) but also "bleeding" (4). which really emphasizes the struggle behind the mask. The poem is about people who have a lot of pain, but pretend it is not there by wearing a mask to cover it up.The poem is universal, but it says “We" (1.) At the end of the poem the people still continue to smile while dying on the inside. They believe that it is no good reason to show anyone what’s behind the mask because it will do them no justice. To them the only person that knows what is behind the mask is God.
In "We Wear The Mask”, Paul Laurence Dunbar describes how people purposely change their external appearances and how this can be both detrimental and helpful. He does this through metaphors and personification. Personification is in the title of the poem, “ We Wear the Mask,” (1) which suggest that he is personifying the mask because people wear it like it is a second face or alive. Dunbar gives the mask human characteristics because the people have allowed the mask to go from being temporarily on their face to permananent. It is ironic that they wear the mask to conceal their suffering, but it causes them to suffer more. Dunbar also uses metaphors to exaggerate the emotions in the poems. He uses metaphor when the poem says “ the clay is vile” (12). The metaphor provides a more visual feeling so that the audience can understand that even the earth that they walk on rejects them. Personification and metaphors link to how everyone wears a mask once in the while and has the same universial feeling He goes on to note that the more you ignore something, it lays dormant and may come back even bigger. In “ We Wear the Mask”, Dunbar exaggerates how changing can be beneficial and harmful because it can be concluded that call of the illusions and subdued emotions are just phony disguises of the painful truths that hide behind them. Thus, people would want to disguise their pain because it makes them vulnerable , often it is concealed, causing one to instinctively protect themselves. Changing external appearance can be detrimental because sometimes a sense of shame accompanies them.
The poem “ Temptation” is about a happy religious man who is praising God. He defeats the temptation by the devil and feels “ happy ez a king”. Lately the devil has been tempting him. He notices this when he says “ Mistah Satan’s ineto try to wuk on me” (12). The man says that because he loves God, God will always protect him. He talks about going to church and how it improves his relationship with God. At the end, even though he loves God, the devil finally gets a hold on him. Because he was overly confident about not...

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