Out from Behind This Mask Review

1645 WordsApr 13, 20087 Pages
Out From Behind This Mask By: Walt Whitman • Synopsis In Whitman’s poem Out From Behind This Mask, the poem starts out by talking about the passion and excitement that to many, lies just out of reach. Whitman is trying to illustrate how this ecstasy is much closer than once thought, by comparing the barrier as a curtain or a mask. The wonders that lie beyond this mask range from “passionate teeming plays” to “the glaze of God’s serenest, purest sky.” To Whitman, the possibilities are endless. In the first line, “Out from behind this bending, rough-cut mask”, Walt Whitman establishes that this poem has a personalized message for each reader with the “rough-cut mask” symbolizing everyone’s outside appearance (or face). The third and…show more content…
Whitman also represents ‘good and bad’ as “sun or moon” (day or night) and “peace and war”. He uses “continent” and “sea”, opposites on the planet Earth, to describe the mask as a map. His use of opposites also relates to illusion of size; the “limitless small” and “condensation of the universe”. When limitless first comes to mind, one thinks of a very large area, but it is unfathomable for something to be “limitless[ly] small”. Similarly, the universe extends forever, but how can one condense ‘forever’? Concealment: The second motif is concealment and is present in the first half of the poem. The first example is the concealment of the face, “mask”. One wears a mask to conceal their face, identity, or emotions. A “curtain” is basically used to block out the outside world (privacy) or, as in a play, conceal motions/actions made. The “glaze” or “film” from lines 7 & 8 are used to damper the intensity or protect from certain aspects. Movement: Simple words like out and more complex ones such as revolving are used by Mr. Whitman for the same purpose. He wants everyone to enjoy life to the maximum and take advantage of every opportunity by getting up and going for it. Astronomy: Whitman makes repeated references to astronomical objects, in order to illustrate how strongly he feels about living life for the moment. Religion: Religious references are made less obviously than the
Open Document