Help please!?


I have to give in an introductory paragraph tomorrow. The topic is the poem "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Can someone give me some examples so I can start? I really don't know where to begin.

We don't have to write an analysis of the poem. What we have to write about is why people wear masks and how it affects their lives. It has to be in a positive sense and in a negative sense too. Please, someone help me!


Sorry, but I don't need an analysis on the poem. What I need is an introductory paragraph.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I had to write an analysis for that poem in my 11th grade English class. Hope it helps.

    Final Prep 29

    Nay, let them only see us, while

    We wear the mask.

    1. Paul Laurence Dunbar

    2. We Wear the Mask

    Tone/Diction: The writer’s attitude towards their own subject. / The writer or speaker’s choice of words. Dunbar’s passive-aggressive tone and diction effectively presents the African-American struggle against discrimination in a non-abrasive way to would-be supporters. Dunbar’s tone and diction expresses an aggressive and passionate will to exhibit discrimination’s ill-effects. “We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries / To Thee from tortured souls arise”. By also passively explaining African-American’s grim circumstances, instead of forcefully demanding change, Dunbar acts upon one’s superior sense of compassion and morality, instead of fear and compliance. This attitude on anti-discrimination appeals more to would-be supporters than anger and rage.

    Conflict: The struggle of opposing forces which is the basis of a stories plot.

    Integrity v. Well-being.

    African-Americans, when confronted with discrimination are left with two conflicting choices: let it assault them or defend against it. Maintaining a facade against prejudice produces a great emotional strain. “With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,”. The alternative is to remain defenseless and let the attack occur. The latter having the advantage of withholding integrity while the other relies on deceit. The conflicting choices for discrimination’s reaction is a lose/lose situation. Resolve only comes from the absence of discrimination.

    Theme: What the author says about the subject. Protecting oneself somewhere, leaves one vulnerable elsewhere. African-Americans protect themselves from racial attacks by putting up a facade. This added protection lessens the pain from discrimination’s direct assault, but leaves one slowly bleeding from behind their barrier. They avoid one form of suffering just to fall into another. This injustice further provides reason to protest racial discrimination. Human nature dictates that one works hardest to protect things that are most vulnerable: our faces, our young, our helpless, but most importantly our emotions. We instantaneously put a barrier, a facade, when we feel threatened. We cannot, however, begin to resolve issues while behind our self-constructed walls. One cannot shake hands with a closed fist. One shouldn’t be forced to feel threatened in the first place.

  • 1 decade ago

    we use masks to hide. we hide our feelings behind a smile, or we mask our anger and hatred behind a passive look. we hide our boredom by a mask of attentiveness

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