Paul Laurence Dunbar's We Wear The Mask

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Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask,” by many people, is viewed as a portrayal of the “mask” that all people wear to hide their inner self. The itself is “written from within black experience,” as stated by Peter Revell (On “We Wear the Mask”). Dunbar was an African American Writer in the time of Jim Crowe laws, so his story can ultimately be seen as a “mask” worn by his people during this time to hide not only their suffering, but the shame of their past as well. Gossie Hudson describes the poem as a way of Dunbar “revealing himself by the way he concealed himself” (On, “We Wear the Mask”).He revealed that, though he wore a mask of pride and happiness, he was full of sorrow. Revell and Hudson both had very equal beliefs on the meaning behind “We Wear the Mask,” but they were both just as equally different. Revell stated that Dunbar’s story was written about his own, black experiences, but could also be taken as inspiration for the reader, black or white. Hudson does not leave this option open. He wrote that Dunbar’s story was of African American struggle and grief and how they deal with and hide it. It is a far cry and exception from his normal stories which portrayed the black man as a “happy-go-lucky creature of the plantation” (On “We Wear the Mask”). Though the meaning isn’t clear at first glance, Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” is about the struggles African Americans faced during the Jim Crowe laws and the grief of their past. A

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