Persona is term originating in Latin that literally means ‘mask.’ Ancient Greeks would wear masks that were then exchanged to portray different characters. In literature, particularly poetry, it refers to the created personality the author uses which may or may not be similar to reality. It’s why when talking about poetry, even confessional poetry, we generally refer to the speaker. Yes, Sylvia Plath wrote deeply personal poetry with herself at the center; however, it was the mask of herself, the generated persona of the troubled writer who spouted figurative language about Nazis and resurrection.
Even in the blogging world we create personas–it’s part of the territory. Just in saying I write a lifestyle blog, I am creating a specific persona that speaks of one element of my personality. My Generation Cake persona, while very much me, is the more casual, less profane, mother/teacher/wife/eco/veg part of myself. It is a masked identity that maintains truth at its guts under the guise of being categorized.
In reality, we are the wearers of masks, switching them at will to present the version of ourselves most right for the situation. My teacher mask is different from my mother mask which is different from my friend mask. Does this mean that I am duplicitous? I don’t think so–it just means that there are parts of me that are not always on display. Our world of “reality” television and web cams and Tweets courts a lack of filter. I disagree–while I don’t believe in deception or censorship, sometimes a filter and things left unsaid are a welcome relief.