Rituals with Masks

We are disassembling poems in ELA class. One of the poems is Trickster by David Bowles. It has to do with masks; not the current kind of masks we are wearing these days. He includes background information on masks which includes that masks are found throughout the world. Many of them are used for rituals and dances. It’s fascinating to think that the idea of masks is found in almost every culture. What does a mask do for us that our normal faces do not? We become someone else or maybe it is better at representing our inner thoughts than our normal faces and the words that we speak.

Today, a colleague of mine revealed her inner thoughts and her ‘mask’ was removed. She expressed that she had chosen not to get vaccinated because she “doesn’t want that stuff in her body.” The conversation diverted somehow to talking about letting people know what pronouns they prefer when being addressed. She did not approve of this. This person definitely removed their mask for me. I did not know she felt this way about these topics. She and another colleague, who felt the opposite about these topics, started to argue. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had to leave before I lifted my mask.

If you are wearing a mask during a ritual, are you hiding your fear of participating in the ritual? If you are wearing a mask while you are in a dance, are you expressing or hiding an emotion you really don’t feel? Are masks used for the individual or for the individual’s culture? Should we all be obligated to wear a mask for the culture? Should we all be obligated to vax for the culture?

One thought on “Rituals with Masks

  1. There’s a whole new set of associations for “mask” — for me those used to be Claude Lévi-Strauss and Mardi Gras. Now, I have bookmarks and bundles of links on the latest and, trying to connect them, find myself wondering whether the plague influenced the wearing of Carnival masques in Italy.


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