Can someone paraphrase "We Wear the Mask"?  

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gocchiuzzi eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Paul Lawrence Dunbar was an African American poet writing in the 19th and 20th centuries. In "We Wear the Mask," Dunbar writes about the black American experience of hiding true pain and suffering behind "masks." Let's look at the first stanza:

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Black Americans, Dunbar here writes, wear masks to hide their pain. These masks are disguises—costumes, almost—that they don, giving an appearance of being happy and...

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Denis Lubowitz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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