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Analysing: We wear the mask

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1 Analysing: We wear the mask
Poem by: Paul Laurence Dunbar PowerPoint by: Alice Phale

2 Learning outcomes To understand the meaning behind the word “mask” or come up with your own interpretation (with EVIDENCE of course) To observe and hopefully appreciate the sad reality of the poem and how it can relate to us in a way that maybe be too deep to admit To be able to see the theatrical aspect of this poem and the ordinary part of it To be able to connect the time period with the poem in this era and to find out the effect the poem has on you and how/why.

3 The poet Dunbar was born June 27th 1872 (Dayton, Ohio) and he died February 9th 1906 Died from Tuberculosis Spouse was Alice Dunbar Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African-American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries Born to parents who had been slaves in Kentucky before the American Civil War, Dunbar started to write as a child and was president of his high school’s literary society. He published his first poems when he was 16 in a Dayton newspaper. Paul Lawrence Dunbar is considered to be the first major black poet in America. He helped pave the way for the artists of the Harlem Renaissance that came later in the 1920s. And more importantly, he was one of the few African Americans of his time speaking honestly about the hypocrisy he saw around him.

4 We wear the mask 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. Why should the world be overwise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries To thee from tortured souls arise. We sing, but oh the clay is vile Beneath our feet, and long the mile; But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the mask!

5 structure 3 stanzas 15 lines
5 lines in the first stanza, 4 lines in the second stanza, and 6 lines in the last stanza AABBCAABDAABAD rhyme scheme It does rhyme but it is not the conventional rhyming poem

6 Language There is a lot of rhyme in all three stanzas
However which each stanza there is a different mood and the rhyme scheme is a contributing factor E.g.: the first stanza has a mysterious mood; the second stanza has a sombre mood and the last stanza has a tormented sort of urgent mood.

7 vocabulary Guile Sly or cunning intelligent Myriad
A countless or great number of people or things Subtleties So delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyse or describe Clay a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth that can be moulded when wet, and is dried and baked to make bricks, pottery, and ceramics Vile Extremely unpleasant

8 Imagery The word choice used by the poet contributes a great amount to the image the poem paints in one’s mind. Phrases such as: ‘tortured souls’, ‘with torn and bleeding hearts we smile’, and ‘this debt we pay to human guile’; are good examples of this. Word choice also set the mood. Bitter, sadness, resentment, realisation.

9 meaning Racial segregation
Don’t let people or your enemies see you down or sad Mask: personality? More like a façade The use of pronouns such as we or our can lead us to think that he is talking about a group of people (slaves or fellow African-Americans)

10 Sources: ome.1.69i57j0l5.5026j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF- 8#q=vile+definition

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