What are the literary devices used in the poem "We Wear the Mask"?

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Laurine Herzog eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are lots of metaphors in the poem. The eponymous mask is of course a metaphor for the facade that the poet feels he and other African Americans must adopt. The speaker also refers to the "bleeding hearts" that African Americans must hide. This is also, of course, a metaphor. Their hearts are not literally bleeding, but the metaphor helps to convey the pain that they feel.

Another literary device used in the poem is the repetition of the collective pronouns "We" and "our" to refer to African Americans. "We" is repeated seven times throughout the poem, and "our" is repeated five times. The repetition of these collective pronouns emphasizes the number of people who are persecuted and also implies a "them" in opposition to the collective "We."

There is also repetition in the poem of the declaration "We wear the mask." The final time this declaration is repeated, in the final line of the poem, it is also an exclamatory sentence . The repetition, culminating in the exclamatory sentence, implies...

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