Theme Of Facade In The Harlem Dancer English Literature Essay

Masks mean many different things to many people. They are used at parties, ceremonials, rites, athleticss, and so many other things. Most people finally take masks off, uncovering who they truly are. However, some people put masks on to hide who they truly are, screening them from the universe. The poems The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens and The Harlem Dancer by Claude McKay both demonstrate the subject of facade in different ways. The adult females depicted in the verse forms are wholly different, nevertheless they both felt as if they needed to utilize a mask to travel on with their lives in society.

The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens portrays a adult female who has passed off and the aftermath that is held for her. It is implied that she is nil but a common adult female who had no existent accomplishments in her life. Her societal position is revealed in the 2nd stanza:

Take from the chest of drawers of trade,

Missing the three glass boss, that sheet

On which she embroidered fantails one time

And distribute it so as to cover her face

If her aroused pess protrude, they come

To demo how cold she is, and dumb.

It can be understood from reading that her chest of drawers is “ missing the three glass boss ” that the chest of drawers is old and perchance falling apart, connoting that this adult female does non hold the money to afford a new one. The sheet that was placed over her organic structure besides came from atop of the chest of drawers. She had besides “ embroidered fantails one time. ” When person does non hold a batch of money, it makes them thrifty. She must hold embroidered the birds onto the sheet to do it look nicer. Making herself appear to hold more wealth and position seems like something she did frequently. However, when her “ aroused pess ” are revealed her mask is over. Her callused pess reveal that she has had adversity and has done a batch of difficult work in her life to merely last. The size of the sheet that covers her is besides really stating. The fact that the sheet was non big plenty to cover her full organic structure reveals that she was non rather what she let people believe she was. It is as if the sheet covered the portion of her that she showed to the universe and in her passing revealed the portion of her that she truly was. Her decease has eventually revealed that she was merely an ordinary adult female who tried to do her life seem better by tweaking a few things to populate her facade.

The first portion of the verse form is besides really stating about how the people who knew her perceive her now as she lays deceased in her sleeping room.

Let the dames dawdle in such frock

As they are used to have on, and allow the male childs

Bringing flowers in last month ‘s newspapers.

Let be be the coda of seem.

The people that are go toing her aftermath seem to be dressed in ordinary vesture. They seem unbothered by the fact that they are at a aftermath of a adult female that they perchance know. They are “ in such frock as they are used to have on ” which means that this event is non of major importance to them. The male childs besides brought flowers that are wrapped “ in last month ‘s newspapers. ” The adult female ‘s aftermath was non even of import plenty for them to wrap the flowers in something nicer than “ last month ‘s newspapers. ” Both the misss and the male childs who attended her aftermath did non believe it was of import plenty to make anything particular.

The most revealing line of the first stanza is, “ Let be be the coda of seem. ” The “ coda of seem ” represents the conclusiveness of the mask of what the adult female wanted people to comprehend when they looked at her. The line is stating that it is clip to allow fall the mask that the adult female put on for a big part of her life. This line entirely sums up the subject of facade in this verse form. The facade that this adult female has worked so difficult to keep is lifted and even as she is dead, she is left hapless and in her true signifier. The people who knew her used her decease as an juncture to eat ice pick, to alleviate some of their ain problems.

Another verse form that explores the subject of facade is the verse form The Harlem Dancer by Claude McKay. This verse form is in the signifier of a sonnet, unlike the other verse form which was free poetry except a rhymed pair at the terminal of each stanza. This verse form captures what life was like for an African American adult female during the 1920s. Bing a adult female in the 1920s was difficult plenty. When this verse form was written adult females were given the right to vote two old ages prior, so tensenesss were still high. To add to the tenseness, an African American adult female would hold been given a harder clip. Although no longer slaves, the tenseness between Whites and African Americans still existed and would go on to be until the Civil Rights Movement. This is the clip that Claude McKay lived in. McKay used his experiences as a Harlem Renaissance author to picture what an African American adult female during the 1920s might hold done in order to acquire by.

The mask that the adult female wears in The Harlem Dancer is much different than the mask the adult female wears in The Emperor of Ice Cream. The mask the adult female uses in The Harlem Dancer is used to protect her and salvage what small self-respect she has left.

Devoured her form with tidal bore, passionate regard ;

But looking at her falsely-smiling face,

I knew her ego was non in that unusual topographic point.

The adult female in this verse form is non being herself as she dances for the people throwing money at her. She had taken herself wholly off mentally from the state of affairs she is soon in and has put herself someplace more comforting. She put on a mask to protect herself, alternatively of seeking to do herself look better than she truly is. She uses her mask as a shield, doing certain that no 1 will of all time be able to acquire to the shred of pride and self-respect in herself that she has left. It is obvious that this adult female does non like dancing for money for these people that treat her terribly and ridicule her. It can be said that this is one of the few things that she is able to make to do ends meet. In order to back up herself and perchance others, this is likely the profession that is the most moneymaking for her during this clip. The sad portion of this is that she is non even gaining much money. This is revealed in the line, “ Luxuriant fell ; and fliping coins in congratulations. ” She is merely gaining junior-grade coins and nil of existent pecuniary value that could be of usage to her.

Another portion of the verse form is besides really stating about how resilient this adult female is because of how she maintains her facade.

She sang and danced on gracefully and quiet,

The light gauze hanging loose about her signifier ;

To me she seemed a proudly-swaying thenar

Grown lovelier for go throughing through a storm.

The adult female seems to be weathered and has besides gone through hardship much like the adult female in the first verse form. She has gone through things that have made her stronger in head and organic structure. It seems that because she has gone through such adversity, it has made her even more beautiful than she was. What has helped this adult female go so strong and able to acquire through the tough times is that she can divide herself from the profession that she has to make any her existent ego. It is kindred to a victim of a slaying or a colza that as it is go oning, they block it out and set themselves someplace else in their head so they can acquire through the awful experience. This adult female is seting her mask on one time once more to acquire through her corrupting occupation so she can back up herself and perchance others. Her strength gives manner to the hope that she will be able to halt dance and be successful.

The facade presented in the verse form The Emperor of Ice Cream has more to make with concealment and concealing off what the adult female truly was from the remainder of the universe. Her mask was like a security cover, doing certain that no 1 would of all time see that she was merely an ordinary adult female with nil to show of her being. However, the facade in the 2nd verse form The Harlem Dancer is more like a defense-mechanism. The adult female in the 2nd verse form puts on the facade to protect her self-respect and to besides transport herself off from the injury. This facade is used as a necessity whereas the facade used in the first verse form was a affair of pride for the adult female. The adult females in both verse forms have seen many adversities and both battle to last in the universe. They try to break themselves in hopes of populating merrily. The adult female in the first verse form hoped that the mask she put on would someday be who she truly was. The adult female in the 2nd verse form hoped that she would non hold to have on a mask any longer. By utilizing a facade, both adult females hid their true egos from the universe.