ENG 110 poetry explication

ENG 110 poetry explication - Paul Moses English 112 Poetry...

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Paul Moses English 112 Poetry Explication The Art of Concealment We Wear The Mask by Paul Lawrence Dunbar has an unorthodox form that focuses attention on the key pieces of the poem. Most of it is written in iambic quadrameter, but there are two variations to this pattern. They occur at the end of stanzas two and three (lines 9 and 15). These two variations consist of the line “We wear the mask” (10, 15), which is also the title and first line of the poem. By repeating the exact same line in four of the most noticeable areas of the poem, the author sets the mask as the focus of his writing. He also inserts an enjambment in line 7, separating the mask from the rest of the stanza even though the flow of the poem suggests it should be part of the previous line. While the idea of people masking themselves is a part of the poem, the author turns it into more than that. By giving it special treatment, he establishes the mask as the overarching theme to the rest of the poem. The poem progresses from beginning to end, with the stanzas acting as paragraphs would in prose. The first stanza acts as an introduction to the idea that all people conceal their true feelings from others. This mask “grins and lies” (1), which conceals people’s
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course ENG 110 taught by Professor Hiro during the Fall '06 term at Portland.

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ENG 110 poetry explication - Paul Moses English 112 Poetry...

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