To Every Woman A Happy Ending

1079 words - 5 pages

The poem Barbie Doll was first published in 1973. The 1970’s in the United States was a time of change and a type of “social revolution”. Several “social revolutions” happened during the 1970’s, but the movement that influenced Piercy was the Feminist movement. The feminist movement of the 1970’s is often referred to as the second wave of feminism. It is the second wave because the first wave was women's suffrage and protesting to gain the right to vote. The wave of the 1970’s was about changing the stereotypical image of women. The stereotypical image of women was that women are to stay at home and take care of the house and children. If they were to work, they were limited to secretarial ...view middle of the document...

The first stanza sets up the mold. The girl does not fit into the mold of being pretty. The second stanza gives more to the societal aspect of only seeing the looks of a person. Piercy describes the girl as “healthy, tested intelligent, possessed strong arms and back, abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.” The girl was normal she was very similar to all girls during puberty. Piercy then indirectly gives the girl’s caring and nice personality. No matter the positive attributes the girl possessed all that everyone could see was her nose and legs. This adds more dimension to the theme, including one that can have a long list of other qualities, but if they don’t fit the mold their other qualities mean nothing. In compensating for her two flaws, in the third stanza she tries trying to fix herself through diet exercise, nothing worked. She wore herself out and committed suicide by cutting off her “big nose and fat legs”. In the final stanza, the girl is in her casket with a nose made by the undertaker to replace the one she cut off. Only when she is dead is she called pretty. The last two stanzas show the extreme measures one might take just to fit the mold. The theme is obvious in the poem and the imagery in the poem help with the theme.
In the poem Barbie Doll, Piercy makes use of images to support the theme. In the first stanza Piercy creates young girl by describing the toys she played with. At some point in people’s lives they have a seen a Barbie and have seen toy stoves and other appliances. Then as the girl hits puberty, women especially can visualize the changing of the female body by remembering their own experiences. Piercy then gives the focal point of the poem the “great big nose and fat legs”. In the next stanza, Piercy fully describes the girl, the image she creates is a picture of perfect health. The girl is healthy and has...

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