Essay about Analysis of the poem Barbie Doll, by Marge Piercy

Essay about Analysis of the poem Barbie Doll, by Marge Piercy

Length: 1395 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 cosmetics painted on,
A turned-up putty nose,
Dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn’t she look pretty? Everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.


Robert Frost beautifully said that “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat”. In fact, poems are all about expressing deep secretly kept feelings through the handling of language. Poetry is a shareable and universal language of specific states of heart to which any reader can identify himself/herself. It is the voice which says the truth. Quite often, delicate subjects lead to sensitive poem like the one of Marge Piercy that we are now going to scan. In the following stanzas, the poetess portrays the hard life of an innocent girl, victim of the society criteria.
The poem has been shaped according to three leading themes: innocence, persecution and death, as we will now see.


     First of all, if we closely look at the first stanza, the most important one, the innocence of childhood is being depicted through the musicality of the verses. There is an assonance in “i” which sounds like a childish voice (world of innocence) and an alliteration in “s” which insists on the smoothness of this universe. Meanwhile, we will notice that the poetess does know the little girl as she uses the definite pronoun “This” (verse 1). She describes her as being innocent, naïve and passive as shown by the passive form: “was born; was presented” (verses 1-2). During her childhood, everything seems to go on quite well: she plays with girl games like “dolls; GE stoves; lipsticks” (v.1-4) and she is living a “magic puberty” (v.5)....


... middle of paper ...


...urity and innocence coming out of her since the very beginning of the poem but tarnished by the bullies. The verse 23 is then of a tremendous importance as “everyone” is looking at her to see if she finally suits the physical standards of beauty in death. “Putty” (v.21) and “consummation at last” (v.24) echo and highlight the falsity of her surrounding and the importance given to the ‘façade’. Maybe she is cutter in death because of this “putty nose” created thanks surgery. We may wonder if the poetess shares the beliefs of these foolish people. According to the two last verses we can clearly see that she does not. There is irony in her words as a “happy ending” is only possible when fulfilling the consumer society’s criteria instead of founding one’s real identity.

     If sharing feelings is one of the aims of a poem, opening the reader’s eyes can be another one. Through this poem, Marge Piercy has succeeded to take life by the throat, to capture the real essence of it. The expression of deep feelings has become possible for both the reader and the poetess, who shares her grief and anger against the devastating stereotypes of the consumer society.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Analysis of the poem Barbie Doll, by Marge Piercy

- 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....   [tags: Barbie Doll Essays]

Powerful Essays
1395 words (4 pages)

Essay on Girls and Society in Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy

- Marge Piercy wrote Barbie Doll in 1973. The main message the poet is sending is that girls would go to any length to be viewed as “pretty” by society. At times the poet was very sarcastic and uses irony to get the theme across to the reader. Other elements of poetry are used as well to help the audience understand the poem. The first three line of the poem discuss the “girlchild” growing up. She was an ordinary girl that played with dolls, miniature GE kitchens and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy....   [tags: poem, girlchild, appearance, diet]

Powerful Essays
597 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Marge Piercy’s Barbie Doll

- The Poem “Barbie Doll (1969)” by Marge Piercy describes the life of a young girl who fell victim to society’s idea of beauty. Marge Piercy was a known social activist and uses this poem to bring attention to serious issues facing young females in society. “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a narrative poem; the poem is written in free verse. The author selects a free form of poetry and other devices to help get her point across. The central message of this work is that society is obsessed with appearances....   [tags: Barbie Doll Essays]

Powerful Essays
1437 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Marge Piercy 's Barbie Doll

- Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll” is a contemporary poem based on the idea of feminism. The characters include the “girlchild” (Piercy 1), a classmate (5), and everyone (11), else who can’t accept her for more than just her looks. In the first stanza, the child is born and is given all the toys that go along with her specific gender role. The child is encouraged to do the things that women are known to do. Once she reaches puberty, she is teased for having a different body type than others (6). This is the time that she becomes self conscious of her body, even though she seems to have many positive qualities....   [tags: Poetry, Stanza, Fashion doll, Bolesław Prus]

Powerful Essays
1138 words (3.3 pages)

Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy and David Talamentez on the Last Day of Second Grade by Rosemary Catacalos

- “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy and “ David Talamentez on the Last Day of Second Grade” by Rosemary Catacalos are two poems that show a unique view into society and the roles society expects people to fill. Sometimes those expectations can lead people to take drastic measures or even cause defiance in some people. The irony of this is that it seems the more we push people to be what society wants the more it drives them to be what they don’t want. In “David Talamentez…” (lines 57-59) “over by cars....   [tags: poem analysis]

Powerful Essays
568 words (1.6 pages)

Barbie Doll Fantasy Exposed in Marge Piercy’s Barbie Doll Essay

- Is Barbie the model woman. For generations girls have played with this doll and many have aspired to be just like her: the party girl, career women and the beauty queen all wrapped into one. In Marge Piercy’s poem entitled “Barbie Doll” the title foreshadows the theme of the poem which is that girls are ultimately and fatally entrapped by society’s narrow definitions of feminine behavior and beauty. When Piercy compares the young lady in the poem to a Barbie doll she is revealing the irony of the title....   [tags: Barbie Doll Essays]

Powerful Essays
1603 words (4.6 pages)

A Woman’s Place in Society Explored in Marge Piercy’s Barbie Doll Essay

- The Poem “Barbie Doll (1969)” by Marge Piercy describes the life of a young girl who fell victim to society’s idea of beauty. Marge Piercy was a known social activist and uses this poem to bring attention to serious issues facing young females in society. In the first stanza the author begins the poem by introducing a little girl. In the first line of the poem Piercy presents the idea that this little girl was like any other average little girl. “This girlchild was born as usual”(line 1). She then goes on to say like other young girls this child was given a Barbie doll, complete with the accessories....   [tags: Barbie Doll Essays]

Powerful Essays
984 words (2.8 pages)

Analysis Of Marge Piercy 's Barbie Doll Essay

- Since the beginning of time, women have not lived up to set expectations. Society has long been obsessed with the idea of the perfect woman. This slightly varies in different cultures, but in America, they have been known to be housewives and mothers who must constantly look pretty. In Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll,” she uses bold diction and symbolism to shows society’s views on women. Anne Sexton uses metaphoric imagery, for the same reason, in her poem “Her Kind.” In Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll,” females are pressured into their pre-assigned gender roles starting at a young age with their dolls....   [tags: Woman, Gender role, Gender, Female]

Powerful Essays
1000 words (2.9 pages)

Marge Piercy’s Barbie Doll Essay

- In Marge Piercy’s, “Barbie Doll,” we see the effect that society has on the expectations of women. A woman, like the girl described in ‘Barbie Doll’, should be perfect. She should know how to cook and clean, but most importantly be attractive according to the impossible stereotypes of womanly beauty. Many women in today’s society are compared to the unrealistic life and form of the doll. The doll, throughout many years, has transformed itself from a popular toy to a role model for actual women. The extremes to which women take this role model are implicated in this short, yet truthful poem....   [tags: Barbie Doll Essays]

Free Essays
604 words (1.7 pages)

Female Body Image and the Mass Media Essay examples

- From the time they are born, girls are influenced by society as to who they should be, how they should look, and how they should act. Americans believe that women should be to a certain standard; pretty, feminine, and especially, thin. The pressures derive from family, media, and friends. Marge Piercy’s poem, “Barbie Doll” depicts a girl who was never recognized for her character and spent her life trying to be accepted for who she was, rather than how she looked. We live in a society with rigid gender roles and expectations as to how people are supposed to be, based completely on their sex....   [tags: Marge Piercy, Barbie Doll]

Powerful Essays
1579 words (4.5 pages)