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In We Wear the Mask, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s rhetoric purpose is to show the readers how African Americans lived during the period between slavery and the Civil Rights movement. Throughout the poem, the author has an almost perfect rhyme scene with with just one stanza that’s different. The first stanza follows an AABBA pattern of rhyming and the third follows AABBAC, while the second stanza follows an AABC pattern. He did this on purpose to make the poem stand out from other poems by making it unique. The one stanza that doesn't rhyme also grabs the reader’s attention because it doesn't rhyme where they’re expecting it to. Not only would the poem stand out from other poems, the information about how African Americans lived at the time would …show more content…
When he refers to the mask in the line “We wear the mask”, he is talking about how African Americans had to hide their true feelings at the time the poem was written to avoid being attacked by the rest of the country. When he talks about shading something in the line “It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes”, he’s talking about African Americans hiding their eyes so the rest of America couldn’t see how they truly felt about how they were being treated. They would be hiding their eyes so people couldn’t see them crying. In We Wear the Mask, the author uses the line “We wear the mask” 3 times, which is 20% of the poem. He is using repetition to make sure the readers remember that line. The line “we wear the mask” refers to how African Americans had to hide their true feelings throughout the time between slavery and the Civil Rights movement to avoid being verbally or physically attacked. The poem begins and ends with “We wear the mask”. The author’s rhetorical purpose in this is to make sure that line sticks with the reader. It’s the opening line to pull the reader in because they’re curious about what the author means, and it’s the ending line to make sure it stays in the reader’s mind even after they read the

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