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We Wear the Mask

We Wear the Mask

  

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Analysis: What's Up With the Title?

Since the title is also the poem's refrain, we know it's mighty important. It's also pretty common for the title of a rondeau to match its refrain. Either way, there's no mistaking that "we wear the mask" is the poem's main point and also the biggest problem contextually. So why all the repetition? Simply put, Dunbar is reminding us—with the title and the repetition—that folks wear masks that may look nice with lots of smiles and singing, but they're nothing more than a series of lies that cover up painful truths.

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