Identity and Persona Across Genres

Identity and Persona Across Genres

We Wear the Mask


  • First, read “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar silently a few times. Mark words or phrases you don’t understand to better assist you in understanding the “plain sense” of the poem.
  • Then listen as the poem is read aloud. This time, look for poetic devices such as metaphor and repetition.

When you finish, share your ideas with your classmates.

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.

Mr. Ryder's Mask

Masks Reflection


  • Write down some final thoughts about how and why people wear “masks.”

Open Notebook

Article Research and Response


  • Find a news article about a person who pretended to be someone he/she was not.
  • Write a short response to the article. Be sure to include the name and title of the article in your response.

Open Notebook

Submit your work to your teacher.