Analysis of the poem Barbie Doll, by Marge Piercy Essay

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Barbie Doll’ written by Marge Piercy (1973)
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.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.

She was healthy, tested intelligent,
Possessed strong arms and back,
Abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.

She was advised to play coy,
Exhorted to come on hearty,
Exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
Like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
And offered them up.

In the casket displayed on satin she lay
With the undertaker’s
…show more content…
Both the assonance in “a” in the sixth verse and the preterit “said” in the active form break the curse of the poem. It calls on the onomatopoeia “ah ah ah” which insists on the muckraking of the girl by her bully. Her life may never be the same as the magic of her puberty has been tarnished.

If we now consider the second stanza, we have the very first depiction of the little girl. From the verses 7 to 9, we have an enumeration of her qualities: “healthy; intelligent; strong arms and back; abundant sexual drive; manual dexterity” making her look like a goddess. However this enumeration does not fit with the previous ‘observation’ made by the classmate. And we almost get the impression that with her “strong arms and back” she will be able to overcome this humiliation and fight for her integrity (echo with v.6). The tenth verse highlights the contradiction between the poetess description of the girl and the girl’s actual state of mind. She looks strong but a wound makes her suffering. Why is she making apologies? For being ‘different’? It may be the reason as explained by the generality made in verse 11: “everyone”. The entire world seems to be against her and they all perceive her ‘ugliness’. She resembles the metaphor “a fat nose on thick legs”. This verse witnesses as well to her body’s evolution from “great big nose and fat legs” to “fat nose on

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