Barbie Doll Essay

1213 Words Apr 14th, 2011 5 Pages
Guerline Donisvitch
“Introduction to Literature”
Ann Rasmussen
April 23, 2009
Barbie Doll The poem begins in a fairy-tale vein, the archaic term “girl-child” being used to underscore the mythic quality of the story. The dolls, stove, iron and lipstick are all traditional play things for young girls, but they are also markers of an identity in the making, the things that young girls grow to identify with their own social roles. The doll presents an idealized image of the body, and stove and irons tell them what kind of work is expected of them as adults. The lipstick perhaps is the most sexualized cosmetic for women, signals to young girls that they will be valued for their physical appearance. The “magic of puberty” introduces
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Her “good nature,” that part of her that sought to accommodate others, has been so exploited that she can no longer continue. She “offers up” (a gesture of sacrifice) her nose and legs, the symbols of her oppression, but to whom we do not know. The very person that the girl-child could never be is the person “appearing” in her casket, after a makeover by the undertaker. “A turned-up putty nose” and “a pink and white nightie” are features of Barbie-doll-like beauty and femininity appear. It is ironic that the very people (“everyone”) who could not appreciate the girl-child, for who she was in life, now admire the person she is made to be in death. In Piercy’s fable, it is society (not the girl) that achieves consummation, for it has made the girl-child into what it wanted. “Consummation” is a term used to describe completion or fulfillment. The last line of the poem echoes the happy ending of fairy-tales. In this case, of course, Piercy is saying that because of women’s subservient position in society, it is often difficult for their lives to have happy endings.

The poem, Barbie Doll, written by Marge Piercy tells the story of a young girl growing up through the adolescence stage characterized by appearances and barbarity. The author uses imagery and fluctuating tone to describe the struggles the girl is experiencing during her teenage years, and the affects that can happen. The title of this poem is a

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