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Social Pressure Exposed In Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

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Social Pressure Exposed In Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll
Why trade natural skin for plastic? Marge Piercy addresses this issue, though indirectly, in her poem "Barbie Doll". Piercy presents an innocent young girl, but conveys that she has fat legs and a big nose. Piercy explains that the child was a normal kid, not bad looking, not in bad shape, but simply does not meet the expectation of not having fat legs and a big nose. She is encouraged strongly to do this, and encouraged strongly to do that, but she can not fix herself up; The pressure is too great, the demand too high- she kills herself. Ironically, she looks pretty in her casket, and in this way Piercy is ironically saying that it was not worth it. Piercy shows that the destructive impact of social influence to meet the ideal look can …show more content…
Piercy uses characterization in its raw form, writing "She was healthy, tested intelligent / possessed strong arms and back / abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity" (7-9). The characterization shows that the girl makes a strong human that should feel good about herself. These traits do not prove to be enough- without declaring anything, Piercy makes the point that social pressure overcomes even the strong kids. The girl, instead of feeling good about herself, "went to and fro apologizing" (10). Piercy makes use of diction with the word "apologizing"; in the poem, it seems like the girl is actually saying "sorry". But, the word apologizing shows regret, in this case, regret of not fitting in better. By saying she apologized, Piercy is really telling us she went through years of humiliation and …show more content…
Piercy uses diction to explain her options as a child with a big nose and fat legs. Piercy writes that "She was advised to play coy / exhorted to come on hearty / exercise, diet, smile, and wheedle" (12-14). Piercy uses diction to pick words that specifically show that she was strongly influenced, like exhorted, and picked words that describe traits of weaker, meek people. By playing coy, the girl could avoid societies influence by not being seen. By coming on hearty, she could also avoid the radar- just do what everyone wants you to do. Exercise, diet; take care of those fat legs. She could wheedle her way up by making everyone else feel good. Piercy exposes these options that only the ugly girls have to take. Then Piercy goes to show how these options do not work. If they had worked, the girl might not have "Wore out / like a fan belt" (15-16). The simile, wore out like a fan belt, relates her wearing down as a person against society to that of a fan belt against the wheels turning it. This tells the story of her death in a short and sweet way- implying the overtone and irony from before. The story of her death: She was stretched until she

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