Denotative Meaning In Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

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A works denotative meaning can differ from its connotative one immensely. Something as carefree as a waltz can become dangerous based on context, one would not say something as a waltz with death is desirable. An toy meant to bring joy to a small child can become entrapping as she struggles to fit the mold this model has built for her from such a young age. In “Barbie Doll”, Marge Piercy transforms the titles meaning from a toy to an unattainable goal set on woman and in Theodore Roethke's “My Papa’s Waltz” an enjoyable dance becomes a painful memory. The denotative meaning of a barbie doll is a doll representing a conventionally attractive young woman and the most famous of famous dolls is Barbie. With dazzling blonde hair and crystal blue eyes, she is what every girl aged 3-12 should aspire to. In “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy the barbie doll represents what a …show more content…
Papa is an informal way of referring to your father, one with more emotional ties. The connotative meaning is something more unsettling and the waltz becomes a form of abuse. “I hung on like death” (Theodore Roethke, 1035) and “Still clinging to your shirt” (Roethke, 1035) just as we cling to our partner when we dance with them but a bit less desperate. It becomes clear that his father was abusive “At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle”(Roethke, 1035), “You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt” (Roethke, 1035) and the small boy is clinging onto hope. Perhaps his papa may change, perhaps situations like these only occur when there is whiskey on his breath. The waltz connotative meaning has less pleasure in it than its denotative meaning; a simple dance is vastly different from a beating. “Such waltzing was not easy.” (Roethke, 1035) makes it clear that the dance with his papa was a strenuous

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