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Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy - Book Report/Review Example

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The author of this review "Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy" focuses on the story of Marge Piercy. According to the text, Barbie Doll, a poem by Marge Piercy, tackles the story of a girl growing through the adolescence stage marked by barbarity and appearances. …
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Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy
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Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy
Barbie Doll, a poem by Marge Piercy, tackles the story of a girl growing through the adolescence stage marked by barbarity and appearances. Piercy uses fluctuating tone and imagery to describe what the girl is going through in her teenage years and the results of these experiences. The title itself is a suitable representation of the physical appearance that most people expect other people, particularly girls, to have. People are usually ridiculed for their looks if they do not have a Barbie-doll-like figure or beauty. However, very few people are given this appearance. Females are always victims of the typecast that women should be beautiful and thin. Sadly, the outcome is harmful for the girl in Piercy’s poem.
The first part of the poem depicts the numerous influences that the young girl is placed into during her early years. Females, as kids, are expected to play with irons, stoves, dolls, and all the typical toys that are usually associated with traditional roles of women. This young girl learns at an early age that she should not deviate from the norms of the society. The tone used in this part is rather naive and silent initially, and then eventually twists towards a more daring statement. In describing the age where looks comes into effect, Piercy uses the magic of adolescence to express it. It is odd that this word is used because adolescence is a phase of emotional and identity crisis for a typical child. The girl was described as having fat legs and big nose, and people made hurtful remarks towards her.
The second part of the poem starts with the passive tone telling about the positive aspects of a girl: strong, intelligent, and healthy. However, these particular descriptions are customarily linked to males. Again, gender typecasting is a primary aspect here. The poem
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shows that if a woman is not beautiful, these traits are not good enough. Again, the stanza takes a twist and makes bolder statements. While everybody else saw a girl with a “fat nose on thick legs”, this girl went “to and fro apologizing.” Society puts women in a position where they express regret for their physical appearance and put on a pretense.
In the third part of the Piercy’s poem, the girl was told to smile and to act demure. Women here are once more pressured to conduct themselves in a phony way. The stanza mentions fan belt as a metaphor to illustrate how one’s pretense can fade in time. In reaction to this, the girl in the poem cut off her legs and nose. This is a perfect illustration of how the female gender is like a doll that does what society expects of her, and acts as she is told.
In the last part of the poem, the girl has consummation at last, and she is dead. Finally, someone praises her saying, “doesn’t she look pretty?” The undertaker places a putty nose on her and uses make-up to hide the sadness and pain that the girl went through. She is placed in a mold of a Barbie doll dressed in white and pink. Again, even with the colors mentioned, allusion to typecasting women is obvious. Pink and white are colors associated with Barbie dolls and girls. Finally, in her death, she was able to fit herself into what society thinks a girl should be.
To teenage girls, physical looks is considered the determinant for success and popularity that is important during their adolescence. Remarks made on a person about looks, particularly at an early age, can hurt a self-esteem and damage personality. In this poem, it was fatal. Piercy was able to achieve the theme via items and colors typically associated with girls, imagery, and tone. American societies usually consider a woman beautiful and socially acceptable if they have the perfect body --- just like Barbie dolls.


References
Meyer, Michael, and Kathleen Morgan Drowne. Resources for Teaching The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, and Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1982. 542.
Ruby, Mary K., and Ira Mark Milne. Poetry for Students.: Presenting Analysis, Context and Criticism on Commonly Studied Poetry. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. 85-87. Read More
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