“Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy and “ David Talamentez on the Last Day of Second Grade” by Rosemary Catacalos are two poems that show a unique view into society and the roles society expects people to fill. Sometimes those expectations can lead people to take drastic measures or even cause defiance in some people. The irony of this is that it seems the more we push people to be what society wants the more it drives them to be what they don’t want.
In “David Talamentez…” (lines 57-59) “over by cars. On every single page David Talamantez has crossed out the teachers red numbers and written in giant letters, blue ink, Yes! David, yes!” All throughout the poem it is his teachers who will not accept him for who he is (13-17). “in the gutter and wanders toward home. David Talamantez believes birds are warm blooded, the way they are quick in the air and give out long strings of complicated music, different all the time, not like cats and dogs. For this he was marked down.” His opinion does not meet the criteria of what science teaches and his teachers want to change his idea by marking him down. In the negative feedback his teachers provide him, nowhere does a teacher take time to stop and help the child. In lines 51 and 52 the speaker notes that another teacher finds one of David’s papers and corrects the spelling errors. Once those errors are corrected his paper is a 90. David would actually do well given help. And therein lays the irony of David Talamante
Those who are there to help us be productive and fit into society are not doing so for David which causes this boy to continue to struggle to fit into societies academic expectations.
It is not only academically where society makes us feel that we are not “normal” or do not “make the grade” it is also in the roles or “mold” we should fit. This is very prevalent in “Barbie Doll”. In this poem the speaker tells us of a little girl born into society (Lines 1-4) “This girlchild was born as usual and presented dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and irons and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy” Here is a new child who has the...