We Wear The Mask
The poem opens with a declaration that we wear the mask that conceals our honest feelings. It goes on to insist the depth of the pain and suffering that the masks are trying to cover up. Towards the end, we are made to understand that the politeness and humbled emotions are only a disguise of painful truth which covers them. These masks certainly do not offer any favors to anyone.
Who is the speaker?
The speaker is an African-American speaking for the black people
What is the structure of the poem?
The poem employs three rhymes (a, b, c) in the whole poem of an iambic lyric, expressing pain and anger brought about by black oppression and racial prejudice. The first stanza introduces the theme and the symbolism of the mask.
The first couplet (aa) confines the speaker in a group by using the first persona plural, we. The group is African Americans or African American writers specifically. In whichever the image, they wear a grinning mask that hides the honest feelings. The image of the grinning mask represents an old African mask applied for the ceremony, covering the face without the eyes of the wearer in an impersonal expression. Therefore, the mask portrays a divine dignity, something spiritual and mysterious, predicting a terrible retribution to the opponent or enemy. The image of the mask awakens the constant indignation blacks endured by having to conceal their honest feelings in a host society. They had to appear to be complacent and to agree to the prevailing c…
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