Masks: Simple & Powerful

She had blue skin,

And so did he.

He kept it hid

And so did she.

They searched for blue

Their whole life through,

Then passed right by—

And never knew.

-Shel Silverstein


For this week’s blog entry, I have decided to review what is probably my favorite poem. I remember when I first read these words; masterfully written by Shel Silverstein, I felt chilled. The poem Masks is so simple yet so powerful. The simplicity and short length contribute to a shocking effect for most people or in my case a chilling effect.

First impressions aside, the meaning of the poem isn’t hid upon layers and layers of rhetorical language. There are no examples of metaphors, similes, anachronism, oxymorons, hyperboles, alliterations, assonance, consonance, understatements, or paradoxes. Masks uses an incredible small number of rhetorical devices to convey its message. Shel Silverstein uses meter, personification, repetition, rhyme, irony, foreshadowing, and maybe a few others to communicate his message. This little poem is incredible deep for the short length; it could fall under the category of a micro story seeing as it only contains 31 words. The profound meaning of the poem is obvious: be yourself and the right person will come to you.

I don’t think that Silverstein would have been able to communicate that message the same way had he made the poem longer or into a piece of art or something of that sort. The meaning of the poem would change if the medium of expression changed. The connotations and feelings associated with the meaning would be different, because it is impossible to communicate the same feelings and emotions through a different medium. A poem, a short poem to be precise, best fits what Silverstein was trying to convey.



One thought on “Masks: Simple & Powerful

  1. Wow that is a unique poem but I love it, never read one like this. Its interesting , it feels like there is a million messages hidden beneath the text. You managed to pick one meaning of the poem, which makes sense i understand how you would come to that conclusion. I think that you could have just further elaborated on the message being conveyed to you and make presented examples from the poem to back it up. You did a really good job of explaining how the meaning would be changed if the medium was changed. I can see that you dedicated your last paragraph to answer that , which you did clearly to the reader. You also managed to list all the rhetoric devices being used in the poem, which shows you analyzed the poem well considering its such a short poem . Well done 🙂


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