We Wear the Mask

James Stern

Ms. Nelson

English 3rd Period

February 14th

“We Wear The Mask”

 In the poem “We Wear The Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar the poet uses personification, onomatopoeia, and an extended metaphor to show thats he (Paul laurence Dunbar) believes that the world is very unaware of all bad things happening in it.

Initially the poet uses the personification “We wear the mask that grins and lies/ it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes.”  This shows that there are secretive and dishonest people in the world. It shows this because if you look at “The mask that grins and lies,” you can tell that “we” is supposed to be the secretive dishonest people and you can tell that they are secretive by reading “It shades our cheeks and hides our eyes.” It shows that there are dishonest people by using the two verbs, grins, and lies. Most of the time I would associate grinning with lying if they are in the same sentence. So from this you can conclude that Paul Laurence Dunbar believes that there are secretive, and dishonest people in the world.

The poet then uses yet another personification: “Why should the world be overwise/in counting all our tears and sighs?” This shows that the world is unaware of these bad people and the pain they cause. I know this because when I saw the word “overwise” I could immediately tell that this must mean that the world doesn’t know the bad stuff that goes on, only the good stuff. From this I could conlclude that this line means that world is very unaware of all this pain, secrecy, and dishonesty that goes on.

Paul Laurence Dunbar then says, “But let the world dream otherwise/We wear the mask!” This is another personification that says or re-states the point of how unaware the world is but it is also saying there is no point in arguing this point to the world, just let it think that it (the world) is a great wonderful place. I believe this because when it says “Let the world beleive otherwise.” I got a sense that he (the poet) was saying that you should just the world believe what it wants to. So basically what really anyone can conclude from this is Paul Laurence Dunbar is saying let the world believe what it wants.

The theme of this poem is there are secretive, and dishonest people in the world that it (the world) is not aware of but there is no point of trying to convince it of these things. This is an important theme to most people because it is important to be aware of what is happening around you.


We wear the mask-O’Donnell

Poppi O’Donnell
Ms. Nelson
English 3rd Period
February 28, 2012

We wear the mask

In this world we are limited to what we are able to do, for example: living forever and or buying everything in the world because those things are not real and naive which is why people usually don’t really think they can do that! There are other more realistic examples though: like when you see a person always wearing one piece of clothing or similar clothing you could say that person is homeless or if that clothing is similar like booty shorts and half tops you say that person is a hoar! Most people not want to do whatever in fear of being judged by others. What you do, how you look, and feel makes it easy to pass judgment. It’s a cruel part of life that no one really likes, we fear judgment, of not being accepted by others but maybe there could be a solution…maybe we can just put on a mask. In the poem “We wear the mask “by Paul Laurence Dunbar, the poet uses imagery, hyperboles and metaphors to create the theme that judgment can cause people “us” to hide or be fake.

To begin, Dunbar uses imagery to create a suspicious and creepy mood in the poem. In the first stanza, the poem reads “we wear the mask that grins and lies/ it hide our cheeks and shades ours eyes” the lines are both examples of imagery. The secondary imagery “it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes” gives you the picture of a person wearing a mask without really saying it. The tone here is mysterious, like a villain wearing his mask hiding more than just his face… feelings possibly or something else not just the identity of himself. The main imagery in the firsts line says “we wear the masks that grins and lies” it suggests that feelings are involved and like mentioned before that those feelings are hidden.

Secondly, Dunbar uses a hyperbole to make the poem about torture and indecision. The following lines have a hyperbole “this debt we pay to human guile; with torn and bleeding hearts we smile, and mouth with myriad subtleties” Dunbar  uses this extreme exaggeration  to show how ruined this person is or could be but how on the outside he/she may look perfectly happy. If this person were really wearing a mask they would not be ruined because when you think mask what usually comes to mind is superhero or villain or masquerade! No debt, No heartbreak, No subtleness and that there proves that this is clearly a hyperbole and exaggeration of the persons feelings behind the mask. The person behind the mask isn’t really happy but sad or aggrieved “and mouth with myriad subtleties” it makes the tone obvious the suspicion there is exact and now you wonder what indications he/she might be showing if cannot see his face. This figurative language not only shows the theme of judgment but shows its impact.

Lastly, I will conclude this essay by using two metaphoric stanzas from the poem! Dunbar uses a metaphor to prove my point being about feelings and not just hiding or being fake! I think the fear of judgment is why people are not always who they appear to be, why they are cowards and are afraid to be themselves, like I said before with the villain he puts on his mask to hide more … more being his true feelings, possibly fear or resentment. The third stanza describes how judgment and criticism can lead up to these feelings with negative turnouts like self hate or being overly self conscious which may cause you to hurt yourself or commit suicide! In that case pretending would seem the right way to go and even if you feel differently why make yourself an open book. “Why should the world be over wise in counting tears and sighs?  Nay let them only see us while we wear the mask” The mood here is in perspective with what the message is, we should not let others make us suffer and that if we do judge that we may need to know the person first. The second line “We smile, but o’ great Christ, our cries to thee from tortured souls arise. We sing but o’, Clay is vile beneath our feet and long the world dream otherwise we wear the mask.” The mood here is different than before it is more urgent like the author is trying to say that we may do things to make you judge us but that isn’t who we are …that we can look happy but feel terrible. A mask can hide your identity, it can make you seem different to others and in the end I guess we all can put on a pretty good mask!

In conclusion, through figurative language, mood and rhythm and rhyme Dunbar makes a sort of mysterious, suspicious and surprisingly urgent poem. Reading this poem you will have to carefully analyze to get the theme of judgment using the mask to show the fear of being judged or criticized or rejected because of who you are. Let us all just put on a mask!!!

dreams essay maldonado!

Carlos Maldonado
Ms. Nelson period 3       Response to “dreams” by Langston Hughes.
      In the poem “dreams” by Langston Hughes, the poet uses metaphors to create a theme that shows you to never give up on your dreams.He shows this by quotes, which I will demonstrate throughout this essay.
    One way he shows this, is by the quote in the third line first stanza. “Life is a broken winged bird,“ it reads. Using a metaphor to  compare a dream and a broken winged bird to describe how a forgotten dream is as worthless a broken winged bird. What Langston is trying to tell us is to never give up on our dreams, they  are your wings to get to our destiny.
    Next he explains that we need to hang on to our dreams. “Hold fast to your dreams” it says. The poet is saying don’t let your dreams surpass you, hang on to them. The message here is Don’t let your dreams go! Never forget about them and continue to try your best to accomplish them. Which brings me to my next point.
    Lastly the end of the of the poem explains why we need to hold on to our dreams. “For when dreams go/Life is a barren field/Frozen with snow,” it reads. Using a metaphor to explain broken dreams to a barren field of snow to show the negativity of a dream, that has forgotten, or not accomplished.  The final message is once you give up on your dream, life is meaningless, there is no longer anything that keeps you motivated to continue on your journey, now that there longer any hope.
   I’d like to conclude this essay revealing  the theme of this poem, which is never give on your dreams. Throughout this poem it explain why we need to hold on to dreams and what happends when we don’t. Which is why we need to continue to continue to live on our dreams. I found the theme by understanding the metaphors that Langston used in the poem to explain his message. I really liked this poem and hope you enjoy it as well.

I know why the caged bird sings-Octavio Perez

In the poem I know why the caged bird sings it talks about a African America female that been assaulted in her years of growing up.By the forces of nature. When she was in the tripartite of a male prejudice. That the white illogical hate, and black having the lack of power to things. How Maya Angelou faced life in the 1950’s and the 1960’s as well in her childhood.She is talking about how she couldn’t go to places.


Sabby Sheemar
Ms. Nelson
English 3 Period
February 13, 2012


Have you ever had a dream in the past that you have now given up on? Having a dream is the most important part of being alive. Without dreams, there is no point in life. Langston Hughes uses idioms, personifications, and metaphors to create the theme that is to never give up on your dreams in “Dreams”.
To begin, Langston Hughes uses idioms to explain the theme to the reader the theme of the poem. “Hold past to dreams.” The author says here to keep believing in your dreams. The author uses idioms to tell the reader to never give up on your dreams.
Secondly, Langston Hughes uses personifications to show the reader the theme. “For if dreams die…” The author here says that dreams can get ruined. The author uses personifications to ask the reader, what would you do if you gave up on your dreams?
Finally, Langston Hughes uses metaphors to show the theme. “Life is a broken-winged bird/ That cannot fly”. The author says here that life is pointless without dreams. The author uses metaphors to explain to the reader that there is no use of being alive if you have nothing to live for.
In conclusion, Hughes uses idioms, personifications, and metaphors to explain to the reader that giving up on dreams is wrong. Has giving up on your dreams given you a good life. If not, then you have a decision to make. Are you going to keep your life as it is right now, or follow your dreams and become who you always wanted to be? The decision is for you to make and the world to find out.

Destroying of Traditions-Pharn

Alex Pharn
Ms. Nelson
English 3rd Period
February 3, 2012 
                                                                                                   Destroying of Traditions
What would the world be without tradition? In this poem, the unknown author is saying that the world is destroying tradition through religion, ignorance, and flaws of society. The author has a serious attitude towards his/her readers. The poet uses figurative language such as metaphors, and repetition.

People don’t believe in God anymore. In this quote from the poem, the poet says, “In a world where athiest soar you would think that God hated us more for making us poor.” People think God is to blame for making us poor but were doing this to ourselves. The poet uses rhyme to prove their point by using it in this quote, too: “In a world where athiest soar you would think that God hated us more for making us poor.”  The words soar, more, and poor are rhymes to strengthen the poem’s meaning.
Ignorance is a problem in our world. “Because men with criminal intentions claim the lord as their witness when hate is the real drug that supports their addiction.” The criminals are ignorant of what’s really going on in the world and instead use hate to fuel their actions. The poet uses a metaphor in this half quote “when hate is the real drug” to show hate spreads around and becomes addictive like a real drug.
People are disobeying the laws with no intentions. “Pass the grass as ashes fall to the asphalt and fault is passed off to the past flaws of society.” People are using drugs to pass time other than doing an activity that doesn’t involve the use of drugs. The poet uses repitition with the words pass, and grass to show the theme of destroying tradition.
Our current culture is destroying our old traditions of life. People nowadays use drugs, commit crimes, and are ignorant of the world. The author of this poem is trying to inform people about the problems of our society. Where will this lifestyle lead us to?

My papas waltz – Salinas

Adrian Salinas

Ms. Nelson

English Period 3

March 1, 2012

Theodore Roethke

            In the poem ‘‘ My Papa’s Waltz ” by Theodore Roethke, the poet uses figurative language such as similes, metaphors, and personification to creat the theme that is child abuse cannot be tolerated even if you are drunk.

Theodore Roethke was abused physically by his dad. He says “your breath can make a small boy dizzy” because his dad might have hit him and made him dizzy. He uses a metaphor in this because ehe is comparing the whiskey on his breath to the dizziness of the boy.

Theodore had a rough life as a child. He says “ My mother’s countenance could not unfrown itself ” because she did not like the fact that his dad was hitting him for no reason. In this part, he uses personification because he is saying the countenance is being used as a action of a human wich is the frown.

After Theodore’s beating he had to go to bed still holding on to his t-shirt. “ You waltz me off to bed still clinging to your shirt”. He was still getting beat even after he was done in the room. Waltzing off to bed means that his dad walbroken mirror 3ked him off to bed while getting beat.

See if your drinking irresponsibly you can possibly injure your child especially if you have an anger problem. So lets fight for the kids who are being abused physically or mentally especially if the person isn’t drunk.



Still I Rise-Cushing

Grace Cushing
Ms. Nelson
English 3 Period
February 27, 2012

“Still I Rise”  Theme

        Do you ever feel like your challenges are to much to overcome? In this poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, it shows her perseverance on rising above slavery and racism. The theme of this poem is beating horrific or challenging obstacles throughout life, and moving beyond them.

      The line “But still like dust I rise,” shows people that no matter what obstacles we are going through in life, we will never stop rising. This is a simile that compares the author, and dust; showing the reader that despite any and all challenges, no matter how difficult, you can overcome them. For this reason it shows the theme of perseverance.

      The second line, “Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines/ Diggin’ in my own backyard,” shows us that we should not allow people to see the pain that they inflict upon us. This simile compares the authors happiness, and gold mines in her own backyard. She uses this simile to describe that she is going to be happy under any circumstance, and shows the theme of rejoicement at any point in her life.

      The third and final line I will be discussing is, “You may cut me with your eyes,” which gives the message that some people are going to give you dirty and nasty looks in your lifetime. This idiom states someone’s  eyes as being weapons against the author. She uses this idiom to describe that the way some people look at you can be very hurtful. The theme of this line, is to not allow peoples negative thoughts and opinions to define who you are.

      All of these messages contribute to the theme of this poem, which is, with the right attitude you can overcome anything. This may be important to the reader because, the reader may have obstacles of their own in his or her life. The authors words may give them hope of overcoming their own.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings- Keel

Dante Keel

Ms. Nelson

Period 3

February 13, 2012

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

In the poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings written by Maya Angelou, the poet uses personification, symbolism and metaphors to show how precious freedom is.

To begin, one example of personification can be found in stanza five. In the quote, “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream.” It is saying that while the caged bird may seem joyous on the outside his true feelings aren’t the same as he is being seen. This quote is an example of personification because it says the shadow “shouts” when in reality shadows can’t shout. The writer is giving the shadow human like traits by stating this. As you can see, it contributes to the theme because it may seem like he’s enjoying himself but his shadow shows his true feelings of how he longs for freedom.

The author then goes on to use symbolism which is shown in the quote, “the free bird thinks of another breeze.” She is showing that the free bird has the freedom of choice, freedom of spirit and freedom of living life to its fullest. It is an example of symbolism because the free bird represents freedom while the air represents life. It contributes to the theme because it is showing how free people can do virtually whatever they want.

Last but not least the author uses a metaphor. In the quote “but a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams.”, she is saying that the caged bird’s dreams will never come true (the caged bird represents someone without freedom). It is an example of a metaphor because your dreams can’t actually be buried in a grave. The theme is shown here because she is talking about how the caged bird dreams of freedom but yet the dreams of freedom will forever be out of the caged birds reach.

The author uses the above examples of personification, symbolism and metaphors to show how important and meaningful freedom really is and how freedom should not be taken for granted.

“The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke – Arreola

Luis Arreola
Ms. Nelson
English 3 Period
February 13, 2012
                                                  “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke
In Rupert Brooke’s poem “The Soldier”, the author uses metaphors, similes, and assonance to create the theme about the experience in war; how terrible and how merciless it is.
First of all, Brooke uses a metaphor to compare different countries. In the following quote, the author illustrates a metaphor, “If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England”. From this quote, we can see how he compared his soul, England, and the enemy’s battlefield. As you can see, the theme is shown by this example because he is saying if he dies, his love for England is so strong, that a foreign field will become England.
Initially, the author again uses metaphors in the following quote, “In that rich earth a richer dust concealed”. This quote illustrates the idea that something may not seem valuable, but it is worth more than how it looks like. Clearly, the author made the choice to include a metaphor, so the readers could see that if he dies in a different land, that land will become rich with his soul. In other words, if he dies, the land he dies in becomes England.
First of all, the author uses similes to compare his country and emotions. Brooke uses a simile in the following quote to compare his country “Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; And laughter learnt of friends; and gentleness”. In this quote, he explains what life is like without war. This example of a simile is shown to compare the days without war.
Rupert Brooke probably decided to write this poem to explain his love for his country; he also wanted to express how his experience in war was. He also possibly wrote this because he thinks God will be impressed with his love for England.