Can someone paraphrase "We Wear the Mask"?  

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"We Wear the Mask" is a powerful poem by Phillip Dunbar.  Dunbar was an African American poet,,and he is speaking about the facade that many blacks wear (wore) to hide their inner pain and suffering from the world.  The mask that is worn is a happy face that hides the tears and the tear-stained cheeks as well as the sad and hurting heart.  In the second stanza, the speaker declares that the mask keeps the world from seeing the sorrows of the African Americans, and questions why the world should be privy to this pain.  The smiles and song only cover the pain of the "tortured soul: and mask the cries that arise from the sorrow.  The world is content with the illusion of the African American happiness, and the speaker of the poem sees no reason to disabuse the world of its misconception.  He and his fellow African Americans  will continue to wear the mask.

melissa1106 | Student

We wear the mask is about how people wear masks to hide how they feel. The mask does not let you know if the person is truly happy or sad.We wear the mask describe how many people do not show their true emotions and hide behind fake smiles or faces. Many people hide what they feel behind a mask and do not let others know how they feel. in real life most people do that on a daily basis. some may be smiling and acting happy when in actuality they are sad and depressed. Specifically in the poem Dunbar is speaking of African Americans but the poem is very applicable to all

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We Wear the Mask

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