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Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

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Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll
Society’s Whims Are NOT To Be Fulfilled

In the poem “Barbie Doll,” author Marge Piercy utilizes four well-developed stanzas to depict a scornful view of American society. Applicable to all time periods, “Barbie Doll” narrates the short-lived life of a young girl despised by society for her appearance. Barbie Doll is like a fairytale, full of plasticity, fakeness, and fantasy. However, unlike a fairytale, “Barbie Doll” ends with society applauding the funeral of a princess that was torn apart into pieces and then worshiped. Written with varying tones of sadness and depression, vivid imagery, and compact concrete details, “Barbie Doll” presents a fact that society for centuries has blinded from view. Women, from the development of civilization
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However, society shunned her thoughts into a black hole and essentially transformed her mind to think contradictory to itself, like the idea of doublethink in 1984. Continuous blames upon the blemishes of her appearance and the insurmountable pressure from society were far too much for her to bear and as a result, she snapped. The last stanza of this poem gives the final say to the main idea. Despite the extent to which the young girl went to satisfy her peers, society only viewed the young girl with passion after a “turned-up putty nose” was placed upon her face. Placed in a “casket [made of] satin,” the young girl seems to have finally obtained the respect that she had wanted all of her life. Never did society satiate at the sight of a living, perfectly healthy person but instead society itself received satisfaction only when the young girl was created into a flawless toy or a “Barbie Doll.” Ironic as it may seem, the only option left for the young girl to obtain happiness was to face the saddest event in one’s life, death. It is for this reason that the young girl felt “consummation” only after her death. In her mind, it was a happy ending, freedom from the tortures that society had presented before

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