Essay about Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy Analysis
1401 WordsApr 16th, 20116 Pages
Not Everyone is Made with a Barbie Doll Mold “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is about a girl who is a normal child growing up; playing with dolls, miniature kitchen items and pretend make-up. It quickly takes an interesting turn when a pubescent child makes fun of her nose and legs and she was advised to exercise and diet despite the fact that she was intelligent and healthy. The poem continues on by the girl cutting her legs and nose and a bizarre visual of her laying in a casket with an ending that states “to every woman a happy ending”( Piercy 791). This poem was written by Piercy in 1969 a year in which many women liberation groups were forming and the breaking of womanly roles was taking place. The poem “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy,…show more content…
The classmate in this poem is a metaphor for society and how through puberty both sexes go through changes and become more aware of one another as well as pass judgment between both sexes, particularly more in women. The girl realizes that standards have been set for her and she needs to look a certain way to be beautiful. However, according to society she is just a girl with “ a great big nose and fat legs” and thus affecting her emotionally which has negative effects on her self-esteem and putting pressure on her emotionally ( Piercy 791). Beauty has been the focal point throughout the poem. Throughout the poem Piercy emphasizes the “big nose and fat legs”( Piercy 791). Society can be very shallow; only looking at the appearances rather than the person as a whole. For example, one particular stanza states that “ she was healthy, tested intelligent,” ( Piercy 791). Though she did not fit into the mold of what society called beauty, she was smart a quality that her critics overlooked. She also possessed other physical qualities such as having “strong arms and back” ( Piercy 791). Society was so superficial that they didn’t see other attributes the young girl had. As the girl continues on to grow up she is continually facing challenges with her confidence and thus affecting her emotionally and physically. For instance, one of the line states that “ she went to
Contemporary poet Marge Piercy published a twenty-five line, open-form narrative poem titled “Barbie Doll.” Four stanzas provide the reader with a brief tale of a nameless “girlchild” whose life, markedly influenced by others’ opinions, comes to a sad and premature end.
“This girlchild was born as usual,” the poem begins. The little girl receives ostensibly appropriate gifts: dolls, miniature home appliances, some makeup. Later, “in the magic of puberty,” a schoolmate comments unflatteringly on her appearance, noting her “great big nose and fat legs.”
From the second stanza the reader learns about the young adolescent’s intelligence, physical prowess, and sexual drive. She appears to be healthy, strong, and capable, but she ignores these attributes, instead going “to and fro apologizing.” “Everyone” sees her as only “a fat nose on thick legs.”
As she matures, she receives counsel from others. The third stanza lists behaviors aimed at promoting her happiness and success. In time, her natural goodness breaks down like a worn-out automobile part. Finally, as an adult, she permanently rids herself of her perceived inadequacies by means of a sacrificial offering.
In the final stanza, the reader discovers the now-deceased woman displayed in her casket. She has been artificially fabricated by an undertaker, with a “turned-up putty nose,/ dressed in a pink and white nightie.” Onlookers find her “pretty.” The final two lines of the poem resolve the narrative: “Consummation at last./ To every woman a happy ending.”