Putting On A Happy Face In We Wear The Mask By Paul Lawrence Dunbar

833 words - 4 pages

Most would agree that putting a smile on the face will almost allow a feeling of joy to start from within. Furthermore, what is known is that every coin has two sides and within that dark side, the smile has many different facets. The thought and discipline in civil resistance on others that look upon some as inferior is a sign of a goodly man. In “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar one facet it shows is his oppression in the world and vagueness one must reflect; through his poem, it shows the revolting world he lives in and the smile of obscurity to conceal himself from the evils in the world.
In the beginning stanza, it’s all about concealment and deception that is hiding from a ...view middle of the document...

The second line of this stanza is saying the author believes they do this keeping track of the oppressed. This keeping count is how the oppressors do what they do in the author’s eyes. The stanza’s third line is a decision the author made not to help other be a part of his private feelings. So if they are not seeing goodly men in front of them, he restates his purpose to wear the mask and make sure to wear it well.
The final stanza is great importance to the author, he questions to his god as to why we must be humble to the tormentors and why he will always wear this face:
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream other-wise,
We wear the mask! (Dunbar 9- 14)
The first line of the final stanza is restating that to grin on the outside and grieve on the inside. Furthermore, it represents his God as Jesus Christ and that requires sacrifice of all things and to give ones will to God. The last stanzas second line Dunbar implies that our souls are tortured, and we still stand as goodly men. Additionally, he implies that we will overcome...

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