Dear Black Barbie Analysis

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Right away Candace G. Wiley’s poem title, “Dear Black Barbie,” caught my eye. Looking through the poem, the author uses multiple literary techniques. However, after reading the poem various times, clearly symbols function as the predominant literary element of Wiley’s poem, and these symbols must be decoded to fully comprehend Wiley’s work. In the first stanza of Wiley’s poem readers are presented with three central symbols: the word fuck, the white Barbie, and you, the black Barbie. To begin with, fuck, a vulgar and traditionally inappropriate word, normally refers to sexual intercourse, yet in the context of the poem, it is used with a negative connotation meaning being concerned with or caring about (“Fuck”). Even though she doesn’t want to, black barbie, standing as a symbol for black women, is being forced to care about white Barbie. In the poem other words for fuck, such as sleeping with or making love, which have a sweeter and more loving connotation are not being used. Fuck and its negative connotation represent a harsh reality of having to care. Additionally, in American culture, Barbie serves as an iconic symbol for beauty; namely her perfect skin tone, long blond hair, big blue eyes, and gorgeous smile exemplify the look women want, and the look men desire. Wiley’s use of symbols dominate…show more content…
Grandma and time both signify the past. In fact, Wiley writes, “There was a time when you didn’t exist at all” (16). Historically, black women did not have a place in society. American culture lacked black women icons, especially in the world of rap when considering the previous stanza concerning Nicki Minaj. Using the symbols of grandma and time, the author use of symbols gives meaning to the poem by saying, still in a negative and unfortunate way, black women presently have a higher social status than they once did, and they should be happy with

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