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  1. 1. James Rabjohns<br />IGSS<br />6-3-11<br />Level 9<br />Buried <br />Of all the things humans have become, they have become the kings of suppression. There are many types of feelings that can be suppressed, feelings in the form of memories, in the form of emotions, or in the form of debt. The book, Beloved, and the poem We Wear the Mask, both deal with the issue of suppressing feelings and hiding them from the outside world or society.<br />In both the book and the poem there is this idea of something that actually occurred in real life, but also this idea that once the physical element of that event is gone, the memory still will live on. By this memory continuing to thrive, it becomes something that needs to be suppressed. In beloved, Sethe is telling her daughter about what she was talking to God about, explaining how she talked about time and has a hard time believing in it because things live on in memory long after they are physically gone. Sethe says, <br />“Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place- the picture of it-stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened” (43).<br />This is using the house as an example of something physical, a place that represents a feeling disappearing, Sweet home physically is not around anymore, but the memory of that place will never go away. Likewise, the poem We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar says, “With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, Mouth and Myriad subtleties.” This is saying that even though it looks like they are smiling on the outside and happy, there are other things going on that are not being shown. Both quotes depict the character having these suppressed memories of places that may not physically be there anymore, but will always stay with them. The memories will stay locked away, suppressed, because they “smile” when in fact inside they are “torn and bleeding”.<br />Emotions are another thing that is widely suppressed in society, and the people in the world really only want to see the mask you put up. For example, a huge suppressed emotion is the memory of Sethe killing her baby. Even though the baby is gone and buried, Sethe is still being eaten away on the inside by what she had done. Despite this, she goes around smiling and acts happy to her other daughter Denver and people in the community. Sethe is constantly suppressing the feelings of hurt she felt back at sweet home and of School teacher, to the point where even slight discussion makes her upset and shut down. Her daughter, Denver is asking her about her past and after a short minute, “Denver knew that her mother was through with it -for now anyway. The single slow blink of her eyes; the bottom lip sliding up to cover the top; and then a nostril sigh, like the snuff of a candle flame- signs that Sethe had reached the point beyond which she would not go”(45). Sethe cannot handle the truth of her emotions that get released when Denver asks about them and she must re-suppress them immediately because she has trained herself to only wear the mask. Like sethe putting up her mask for society, the poem also says that people in the world only want to see the mask, “Why should the world be otherwise, in counting all the tears and sighs? Nay let them only see us, while we wear the mask.” This explains that it is not worth allowing the emotions you have built up to be released, because society only wants to see your mask. This explains why Sethe has trained herself to only be able to show the mask she has created, and not her true emotions. Like the poem states, the world only wants to see the mask and not the truth built up inside.<br />Sethe has shown that she has been feeling a suppressed debt to Beloved. “The mask” discusses the idea that they are slaves to something they’re not, especially in this quote, “ This debt we pay to human guile.” This ties into Sethe’s hidden debt she feels she owes to Beloved. When Beloved comes back and grows bigger, Sethe falls to her and will do anything for her to repay her for what she put her through by killing her as a child. “Beloved was more important, meant more to her than her own life. That she would trade places any day. Give up her life, every minute and hour of it, to take back just one of Beloved’s tears” (284). Sethe would do anything for Beloved even if it endangered her own life to try and repay this debt she feels she has. Sethe had killed Beloved to try and protect her from schoolteacher and what she had to go through as a young slave woman. Beloved has been taking advantage of Sethe and her love and essentially made Sethe her slave. If Sethe could release this suppressed debt she wouldn’t have to be a slave to something she’s not. This debt is not just physical but it is something that has been buried and suppressed ever since she killed her daughter.<br />In conclusion, the poem, We Wear the Mask, and the book, Beloved, both discuss the issue of suppressing feelings and hiding them from the outside world, as well as highlight that there are many types of feelings that people suppress. Another great example of feelings being suppressed is what we learned about in social studies: the lunch counter sit-ins. These sit-ins were lead by students in the early 1960’s and occurred all over the south and in many different chains of shops. One of the main chains was the Woolworth Chains. Though this occurred all over the south in many different places with different students, all of the students who did these sit-ins had to suppress all their feelings and emotions they had for the outside world and society so that they appeared calm and civil. Even though they sometimes were being beaten, cursed at, and arrested and probably wanted to lash back or say what they were feeling, they had to put on a calm, collected mask as they were doing the sit-ins. This is a real life example of African Americans having to suppress their feeling toward the white man and racial inequality so that they could appear differently to society. <br />