Identity and Persona Across Genres

We Wear the Mask Written Response

Work Time

Dunbar was a contemporary of Charles W. Chesnutt, and he, like Chesnutt, was African American.

Respond in writing to the following questions.

  • How does this information affect your understanding of the poem?
  • Is Dunbar’s “mask” a specifically American mask?
  • Is the type of mask Dunbar presents specific to African Americans? Why?
  • In “The Wife of His Youth,” why does Mr. Ryder introduce Liza Jane to his guests?
    • In what ways could taking off this “mask” be beneficial to Mr. Ryder?
    • In what ways could it be detrimental?

Open Notebook

When you finish, share your insights with your partner.