The following poem Deb Westbury is titled 'Masque'. Explain why this is a good title for the peom. (Poem is in the description.)(Please keep answers formal and free of colloquial language :)  ...

The following poem Deb Westbury is titled 'Masque'. Explain why this is a good title for the peom. (Poem is in the description.)

(Please keep answers formal and free of colloquial language :)

 

Masque

I’m standing back, now,

looking back

at last

on all those crowded

days and nights

relentlessly erupting

on face and street

 

each face, voice, mannerism

meticulously chosen and applied

for fear

that yours would be the one,

the one that slipped,

or didn’t fit,

 

the one the rest saw

over their shoulders

as they shrank away from you.

 

Asked on by wanderista

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The title of "Masque" seems appropriate for several reasons.

I’m standing back, now,

looking back

at last

This segment of the poem indicates that the person speaking has stepped away from what is happening around him/her. This may well be a step the speaker takes to move into the background where he/she will not be notice. In essence, to avoid detection or attention, the backward movement draws attention away from the poem's subject, just as if he were wearing a "masque.

The next section reads:

each face, voice, mannerism

meticulously chosen and applied

for fear

that yours would be the one,

the one that slipped,

or didn’t fit,

Parts of a disguise are used, like a mask, perhaps serving the same purpose. Face, voice, actions are carefully weighed. Fear is at the root of this experience. Here is seems the fear of being recognized, if the mask should slip. However, "or didn't fit" could mean that if the mask or pretense was swept aside, the object of the poem might feel he didn't below.

The ending hold two possibilities for me.

the one the rest saw

over their shoulders

as they shrank away from you.

What if "masque" is a double-entendre. A masque in the past referred to a ball or party, where everyone came with a masque. It was quite entertaining to figure out who was who. So it may be that this person is attending some kind of entertainment. Perhaps the person in the poem is hoping no one will notice her because he want to dance with only one person. The people in the poem's last line may shrink because they are fearful or intimidated by the person who has come to stand behind the fearful person in the poem.

Or, perhaps, it is simpler than that. Perhaps the person has disguised him or herself too well and the original person is vastly changed. This could mean that the masque or other forms of disguise cause distress because he/she is an unknown quantity, and no one knows how to react to this unfamiliar face/persona.

The title seems appropriate because for one reason or another, the observer notes that the subject of the poem wishes not to be observed, the kind of service a masque or change of appearance would provide.

 

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