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What is the mask symbolic of in Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem, "We Wear the Mask"?
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High School Teacher
The mask in the poem refers to people hiding their true feelings behind a false expression. Specifically, he is referring to the cheerful face that so many blacks felt necessary to wear in front of white people. Inside, they felt the pain imposed upon them from their treatment by white people in the early post Civil War years. He indicates, in the third stanza, that they (the blacks) allow the world to believe that they are content but inside they are not. His words imply that blacks wear the mask of false contentment by choice because they know that their lives are made easier by wearing it.
Posted by luannw on April 6, 2009 at 8:31 PM (Answer #1)
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