Thursday, April 10, 2008

Introduction to Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll


Piercy, Marge. "Barbie Doll." The Norton Introduction to Poetry. Ed. J. Paul Hunter, Allison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. 9th ed. New York: Norton, 2007. 27-8.

2. Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll was written in 1973. It is a poem that reflects on the way that little girls are brought up and the images that they are taught and how reality is different than these images. A girl expects Barbie doll perfection and, once she goes through puberty and realizes that she is not like that, she spends her life trying to make herself that impossible image. She is dead at the end due to trying to look a particular way because she thinks that looking like a Barbie will bring happiness.

3. What particularly drew me to this poem was the manner in which Piercy questions what happiness really is. She makes the point more effective by relating Barbie to false happiness. Barbie is a universal symbol of perfection but one must realize that a Barbie is also fake and plastic. There is no real depth of thought or emotion that is connected to a Barbie. This point is hit home at the end of the poem when the girl in question is dead. She may have tryed to achieve looking like a Barbie but now her being is more like a Barbie than ever. She is dead and therefore has no feeling or emotion, much like a real Barbie.

4. This poem is similar to Adrienne Rich's poem Power. Both poems revolve around women seeking to achieve something that will make them powerful or more memorable. The girl in Piercy's power is looking to be attractive and therefore, achieve the power of confidence that comes with happiness. Marie Curie in Rich's poem is seeking to be a powerful woman of science. Ultimately, these goals and hopes that they carry out to become happy result in their deaths.

1 comment:

Marissa said...

There's kind of a childlike sing-song to some of those lines that's a little creepy. . .

I think it's really interesting that the girl got a "turned up putty nose" in death. I wonder when this poem was written--it sounds like a commentary on the plastic surgery phenomenon.