In this poem Marge Piercy’s speaker evokes a concrete vision of a woman who has lost her personal identity to her job. Her bold and descriptive use of metaphors allow the reader to envision a woman who is living her life vicariously through her career. Ms. Piercy successfully uses paradox, personification, and the pun to bring the
character alive. With the use of metaphors, both implied and explicit, the reader can deeply empathize with the central character of this poem.
From the first line of the poem the tone is set for the reader. It is not so vague as to use a simple simile, but a strong manifestation of the idea of the speaker as an actual personification of a material object. She does not say “My hips are like a desk”,
she says “My hips are a desk” (line 1). Throughout the rest of the poem, personification of the woman as nothing more than a piece of office equipment is expressed with striking realism.
In the first six lines of the poem the speaker describes herself in salient detail. Each of her body parts are placed with an obvious piece of office equipment. This allows the reader to form a solid picture of a woman sitting at her desk performing the daily drudgery of a secretary. She does not see herself as a real woman but a woman whose hair is”rubber bands” (3), whose”breasts are wells of mimeograph ink”, (5) and whose “feet bear casters” (6).
The secretary is so entrenched in her job that she describes her “head as a badly organized file” (8). To furthur describe how badly organized the file of her head is (or her mind) Ms. Piercy reiterates that fact in line 9 and 10 by saying “My head is a switchboard / where crossed lines crackle”. With the use of two lines both describing the mind and thoughts of the secretary it is successfully conveyed that the secretary really is confused and overburdened by the demands of the job.
Further examination of the personification of the secretary as a piece of office equipment is seen in the use of onomatopoeia as a metaphor. “Buzz. Click” (7) and “Zing. Tinkle” (14). With the use of these descriptive...