Shadows On The Skin : A Study Of Dually Randall And Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Shadows on the Skin: A Study of Dually Randall and Paul Laurence Dunbar Dually Randall and Paul Laurence Dunbar are two African American writers living during the early twentieth century. These men did not know each other, however, they both encountered the same hardship of being an African American living before the civil rights movement. Both men use poems that emphasize sound, structure and imagery to express what they experienced during that harsh time. A careful analysis of “We Wear the Mask” and “Ballad of Birmingham” expose that the shadows cast on their skin has a lasting impression. Dunbar and Randall both use interesting imagery in their poems to display how the character truly feels. In the “Ballad of Birmingham,” stanzas…show more content…
Lastly, “Ballad of Birmingham” also uses auditory imagery when the mother calls her child “baby” and allows her to sing in the “children’s” choir. By this, the reader is able to see that the mother does not think of her child as grown. Images are very important in a poem because it allows the reader to visualize in his/her mind what the character is going through and can better relate. Poetry often uses sound to maintain a flow that keeps the reader interested and involved in a poem. Onomatopoeia is used in both “We Wear the Mask” and “Ballad of Birmingham” in one way and another. In the “Ballad of Birmingham,” alliteration is used when the consonant “W” is used in the line “her eyes grew wet and wild.” (26) In the same respect, “We Wear the Mask” states “But let the world dream otherwise/We wear the mask.”(14,15) The sound of the “W” is also repeated three times in these lines. Assonance is also a common sound used in both of the poems. In “Ballad of Birmingham,” the vowel “O” is repeated in the line “No, baby, no you cannot go.”(4,13) Also, the vowel “E” is repeated in the line “It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes”(2) in “We Wear the Mask.” The way in which a consonant or vowel is repeated brings a pleasing sound to the reader’s ear. The only major difference that the two poems contain is that in “Ballad of Birmingham,” the tone of the poem changes from a normal
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