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"Barbie Doll," a poem by Marge Piercy, focuses in on the transition of a young girl into society's stereotypical woman.

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Introduction

?Barbie Doll," a poem by Marge Piercy, focuses in on the transition of a young girl into society's stereotypical woman. Through symbolism, Piercy conveys how women change their outward appearance to match the standards of society. The beginning of the poem describes how a normal girl is pressured, even as a child, to fit into society's stereotype. At the beginning of the poem Piercy states, ?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? (1-4). Symbolism is used to represent the importance of remaining feminine. The word ?girlchild? is used to amplify the importance of the child being a girl. This is done primarily to begin the poem in a feminine way. By saying ?girlchild,? Piercy is emphasizing femininity from the beginning of the poem. Next, Piercy introduces ?miniature GE stoves and irons? to the girl. Stoves and irons are items women use to cook and do chores with. ...read more.

Middle

Mid way through the poem Piercy states, ?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? (7-11). Symbolism is used to express a need for women to have a certain look and fit a certain mold. The girl is described as healthy, intelligent, and strong, but those features are not acceptable enough for society. Being healthy and intelligent are both characteristics that people can?t see. They are two extremely important factors of life, but they are not what society is looking for in the girl. Health and intelligence act as symbols for the perfect girl, minus looks. The girl is also described as having ?strong arms and back.? Ordinarily, being strong would be socially acceptable, but being strong is a symbol of masculinity. Society is looking for a certain type of person that only has certain features, and possessing ?strong arms and back? is not what is socially accepted. ...read more.

Conclusion

To every woman a happy ending? (23-25). Symbolism is used to show that women are ultimately supposed to gain the approval of others. Even though the girl is dead, society is still judging her by pointing out how she looks. Being pretty is a symbol of how society wants the girl to look. Therefore, the girl is still attempting to look pretty to please society. Piercy states, ?everyone? is pointing out that the girl looks pretty to show that every person in society is still critiquing her. By saying ?everyone,? Piercy symbolizes the pressure the girl feels from all of the people while having to be pretty on her deathbed. Piercy states that every woman feels ?consummation at last,? to show that everyone feels fulfillment and perfection about the girl's appearance. Once the girl is dead and can?t do anything else to please society but lay dead, society is happy. A ?happy ending? is present for society because the girl looks pretty. Piercy says, ?to every woman a happy ending,? to symbolize that every woman is finally content with how the girl is supposed to look and act. The girl has ultimately gained the approval of others. ...read more.

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