What two things does the mask hide in "We Wear the Mask"?

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In "We Wear the Mask," the speaker explains how the mask "hides our cheeks and shades our eyes." Thus, the two things that the mask hides are the people's faces and their true emotions—the eyes may be the windows of the soul, but the mask shades the eyes.

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.

The poem describes how people hide their thoughts and feelings from others, especially their sadness and suffering, behind the "mask" of forced joy and cheerfulness.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

More specifically, the poem also relates to the Black experience in America. Dunbar alludes to the fact that Black people regularly deal with racism, prejudice, and discrimination, forced to keep smiling and keep pretending that everything is fine, regardless of the reality. Thus, the poem describes Black Americans having to hide their pain and suffering, as well as their true identities, behind a "mask" of fake smiles, happiness and courage, so that they can be accepted by the inhumane, intolerant, and judgmental white society.

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