Essay on Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice

Better Essays
Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice by Marge Piercy

"A clever trick, crafty device, or stratagem" is how Webster's Encyclopedia of Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines Artifice. Marge Piercy definitely used "crafty" techniques in writing "A Work of Artifice." In this poem, Piercy reflects on the growth of a bonsai tree, considering the molded existence of what it is to what it could have naturally been. With deeper analysis of this poem, the correlation between a bonsai tree and the shaped role of women within society becomes evident. The poet introduces one specific metaphor in the beginning, comparing the growth of a bonsai tree to the development of women. This single metaphor is supported throughout the remainder of the poem by the implementing a significant shift, using imagery, and using additional metaphors.

The first three-quarters of Piercy's poem focuses on just the bonsai tree, in regards to its potential and what it has actually become. In this segment of the poem, the writer refers to the bonsai tree using the direct article and direct addresses. Both techniques are utilized to describe the tree in detail. For example, using the direct address, Piercy explains: "It is nine inches high." The poet then changes the voice in line12, but still specifically focuses on the tree: "It is your nature to be small and weak." Such a slight alteration as the speaker uses "your" is a transition for the major shift within Piercy's poem. The writer had focused strictly on the bonsai tree in lines previous to line 17. At line 17, she encourages the reader to relate the bonsai tree to "living creatures." Opening up the topic of the poem beyond the concept of the bonsai tree is a method used to make ...

... middle of paper ...

...of Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as "a tree or shrub that has been dwarfed by certain methods, as by pruning the roots and pinching and wiring the shoots and branches to produce a desired shape and effect." In her poem, "A Work of Artifice," Marge Piercy uses artifice to express to her readers how women, similar to the bonsai tree, have been "pinched and pruned" into a molded role within society. Piercy employs this metaphoric comparison between the tree and women to support her theme throughout the entire poem. The various poetic devices that facilitate the writer's comparison include a voice shift of the speaker, use of imagery, and further use of metaphors. Marge Piercy is very successful in subtly conveying her message to her readers. She is able to present the growth of women and the limitations they have faced without hastily attacking the issue.
Get Access