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Paul Laurence Dunbar - Literary Analysis

Who is PL?
What's Going on in the Late 1800's?
We Wear the Mask by P.L. Dunbar
Our Personal Interpretations
Rhyme Scheme & Meter
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Background Info - We Wear the Mask
Figurative Language & Theme
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Our Personal Interpretations

Here lies our own personal interpretations of Dunbar's poem. Enjoy.

I believe the poem is about how people don't ever show what they feel. Many people put on a good face so they won't get into trouble with other people who don't appreciate the way they feel. - Sarah H.
When I read this poem, I thought of how tough it had to be for black people in the past because they couldn't express their true feelings. It really relates to society today, because some minorities still cannot show their emotions without facing criticism. - Krista

I discovered truth in this poem.  We do often wear a mask to cover our true selves.  But, why?  Obviously the answer to that is different for each one of us and according to purpose.  It isn't until you discover the answer to that question that you may unveil your true identity.
--Sarah K.

I think PL is expressing many different emotions in this poem. When I read it I get a sense of despair from him, and also a sense of frustration. It sounds to me like he is mad that he and his people hide what they feel, but also sadness as to why they do. This poem could be taken in a few different ways as well. You could say that PL was just venting his feelings, or that he was hopeing to use this poem to persuade or to cause an action by people. Any way it goes, it's an awesome poem and it really touches a person's emotions.
-Cyndee D.

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