Symbolism And Imagery In Barbie Doll By Marge Piercy

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The poem Barbie doll by Marge Piercy is about a little girl who grows up only to kill herself for not living up to society’s standards. The speaker shows how she had a normal childhood and was happy playing with here baby dolls and toy stove. However, during puberty, her body changed and everyone noticed. She was criticized for her “fat nose and thick legs”. She tried to change by dieting and exercising, but soon tired of doing so. She then cut off her nose and arms in order to please the rest of society. Only at her funeral did people finally say she was pretty. As shown in this poem, the criticism placed on women in our society is a continuously growing problem today. By using imagery, symbolism, and diction, Piercy demonstrates the high standards placed on girls at a very young age.
Imagery is very prominent in this poem. For example, the first stanza creates the image of a little girl playing with the usual toys, like the baby born dolls (the dolls that did pee-pee), mini GE stoves, and makeup. Female readers can easily relate to playing with these toys as children. They are the typical toys given to girls at a young age, which is the point of presenting this information. It shows the girl was brought up like usual, which makes it seem like the ending of the poem could also become commonplace. It also gives a good visual representation of her body at the funeral when the speaker says she has a “turned up putty nose”, which makes the girl seem both perfect and fake. This
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