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Comparing "We Wear The Mask" By Dunbar And "Richard Cory"

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Poetry & Poets

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"We Wear the Mask," by Paul Laurence Dunbar and "Richard Cory" by an anonymous writer are two poems that illustrate how people hide their feelings from others. They have different voices, or are coming from different views, but they have the same theme. We can not see how people are feeling by their actions or facial expressions. What they feel inside is different than what we perceive.
In the poem "We Wear the Mask," Dunbar portrays his view of true feelings. "We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes" (1-2). "With torn and bleeding hearts we smile" (4). He feels that our face is a mask that does not show how people really feel. We smile to hide the pain in our hearts. In the lines "Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and signs?" (6-7) Dunber is telling us not to show feelings. Why bother others with our troubles? We sing, laugh, and smile even though we are hurting and "let the world dream otherwise" (14) to hide our suffering.
"Richard Cory" is about a man that everyone in town admires. "When ever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentlemen from sole to crown" (1-3). He stood out in a crowd because of his polished fashion. "And he was always quietly arrayed, and he was always human when he talked" (5-6). He was rich and had advantages over others, but he did not conduct himself in a "holier-than-thou" manner. "In fine, we thought that he was everything to make us wish that we were in his place." Everyone not only liked him, but wanted to be him. He was a role model for some, but unbeknownst to all, he had faults or problems just as them. These problems were not discussed in the poem. It doesn't say anything about a marital spouse. Maybe ...

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