A Woman’s Place In Society Explored In Marge Piercy’s Barbie Doll

1253 words - 5 pages

The Poem “Barbie Doll (1969)” by Marge Piercy describes the life of a young girl who fell victim to society’s idea of beauty. Marge Piercy was a known social activist and uses this poem to bring attention to serious issues facing young females in society.
In the first stanza the author begins the poem by introducing a little girl. In the first line of the poem Piercy presents the idea that this little girl was like any other average little girl. “This girlchild was born as usual”(line 1). She then goes on to say like other young girls this child was given a Barbie doll, complete with the accessories. “…presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy”(lines 2-4). As the child grew and hit puberty her fellow classmates picked on her because of her looks. She was told that she was fat with a big nose.
The second Stanza continues the story of the child. The author explains in the first three lines the little girl was fit, intelligent and filled with passion. Regardless of all of her excellent attributes the girl went back and forth apologizing and asking for forgiveness because “Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs”(line 11).
In the third stanza the girl is told to play modest, to be whole-hearted, to exercise, to diet and to charm. Eventually she could not take it anymore and gave up. “Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt. So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up”(line 16). Sick of the constant bulling the girl gives up on trying to be perfect and fit in with society’s ideals.
The last stanza talks about her funeral. The girl is displayed in her casket on satin fabric with the mortician's make-up applied. A fake turned up nose is applied to the girl that lay in a pink and white nightie. With her legs and nose removed, dressed in girlish clothes and colors she is finally beautiful in “peoples” eyes. “To every woman a happy ending”(line 25).
Part II Scansion and Analysis
“Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a narrative poem. The poem is written in free verse. The poem does not contain any rhyme, rhyme scheme or meter. The author selects a free form of poetry to help get her point across. The way the poem is written causes it to read more as a story then a poem even though there are some poetic devices used.
The poem is composed of four stanzas with a total of 25 lines. Each stanza signifies a different part of the child’s life. For example the first stanza talks about her birth and adolescent years. The stanzas have irregular lengths and structures. The numbers of lines in each stanza vary from five to seven. The author uses enjambment throughout the poem, for example in lines 19 and 20. There are also many examples of end-stops in the poem, for instance in lines 12,13 and 14. Piercy uses enjambment and end-stop to give the poem a natural feel that adds to the story like aspect of it. Also the use of enjambment creates a pleasant natural pause that puts emphasis on...

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