Black Skin What Masks: A Description of Insanity

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| Black Skin What Masks | A Description of Insanity | |

Dambudzo Marechera writes of the insanity he feels as a result of his own desperate racial confusion and accompanying self hatred in Black Skin What Masks. In this story Marechera begins by placing the overall notion of discomfort that accompanies one’s skin being black on the same level as an unnamed friend. The description of the friend points very clearly to different levels of insanity while simultaneously, the reader’s attention is constantly being brought back to the point at hand, the issue of race. Ultimately, the main character’s (author’s) discomfort regarding his racial identity and his efforts to change that are displayed as a completely separate persona from
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The disagreements described between the friend and the author, embody their distain for one another as well as distain for what the other represents while presenting their inability to gain independence from one another. The friend accuses the author of being a monkey in terms of how he is dressed and offers him one of his many suits, symbolizing the author’s own self distain and attempted rectification of the defect. The author returns this criticism by describing the friend as “really [making] himself look like a monkey” when he was dancing. Other arguments continue to display the struggle between the part of the author that wants to assimilate and fit in with the predominantly white culture and the side that wishes to be exactly who he is and do as he likes. One such altercation arises from the shame the friend feels when in the company of the author because of his bad behavior and requests he deny their friendship if asked. The excuse of bad behavior in conjunction with the friend’s previously stated views of Africans or black people indicate that he thinks that such behavior is African and he does not wish to be associated with it as

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