May 7, 2008
“The Market Economy” by Marge Piercy
“The Market Economy,” written by poet and social cause activist Marge Piercy, is
free verse, with no rhyme or rhythm, and possesses very few poetic devices.
born in 1936, and grew up during the rise of capitalism and the New Deal in the U.S.,
which suggests that her intended speaker is a mother in search of work during wejrowiejf.
The speaker could also be Piercy herself.
The tone of the poem is relatively consistent throughout.
Marge’s topic matter as
well as her selection of blatant words creates a gloomy, morose, depressing,
It seems to me that this tone reflects the attitude of American society
just after the Great Depression: “You’ve been out of work for a year and they’re hiring at
the plastics factory.”
Although the tone is consistent throughout the poem, there is a
contradiction in argument from the first stanza to the second stanza.
Piercy uses mostly denotative words in “The Market Economy,” which she
intends to be perceived by dictionary definition.
The only connotative expression I came
across in the poem is “Smog City,” referring negatively to a capitalist nation full of
factories that produce hazardous, harmful waste.
The short poem is broken up into only two stanzas.
The first lays blatantly lays
out the harsh truth about the various health affects the capitalist economy can have on
She argues that capitalism is harmful by laying out her examples in a
hypothetical manner, but in reality, these things that she’s talking about really do happen.
The author almost contradicts her arguments in the first stanza by claiming in the second
stanza that it’s virtually impossible to stay away from a capitalist economy in order to be
successful in life.
She does this by presenting questions: “But where else will you work?
Where else can you rent but Smog City?”
In other words, she is questioning, what other
option/choice do we have but be a part of capitalism?
The poem lacks any sort of
particular rhythm, but the shift or change in ideas from the first stanza to the second
stanza provides for an appealing message to the audience.
“The Market Economy” also contains very few figures of speech as I found no
similes in the poem at all.
Piercy presents much of the first stanza in a way that appears
to be metaphorical, but is actually a horrifying, deliberate truth.
She writes, “you can
have polyvinyl cups and wash and wear suits but it will cost you your left lung rotted
with cancer,” and she also seems to use “Smog City” as a metaphorical item.
providing these blatant examples to argue that capitalism is causing harm to consumer
health, her warrant is backed up effectively.
“Smog City” also serves as a symbol
representing the American capitalist economy, with factories that produce “smog” and