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Eng 112 Close Reading

Eng 112 Close Reading - 1 Nikki Resor English 112 BF HW 3...

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1 Nikki Resor English 112 BF HW # 3: Close Reading February 2, 2011 Barbie Doll The poem I chose to analyze for our close reading assignment was called “Barbie Doll,” by Marge Piercy. The message that this piece is sending is one that I felt a close connection to. The poem talks about a young girl who is dealing with the physical pressures and insecurities that are so heavily experienced by women in our culture. The poem focuses on the constant demands that women face to conform to society’s unrealistic standards of beauty. Marge Piercy develops a tone, significant to her theme, which is lightheartedly sarcastic, yet still serious through her clever usage of word choice and figurative language. The tone of this piece is crucial to the theme because much like any poem, it is trying to evoke emotions from the reader that trigger an intended response. Piercy wants her audience, which I would assume is women, to step back and observe the harsh reality that so many of them choose to ignore in an attempt to conform to society’s expectations. The tone that Piercy has created is one that reflects upon how women seemingly make light of their situation, but are truly affected deeply by it. The sarcastic comments and lighthearted terms contrast the severity of the problem, which helps Piercy demonstrate to the audience that women should not accept and conform to the pressures put on them. Her lighthearted comments and sarcastic remarks seem out of place for the story being told; this highlights the real problem and forces the reader to acknowledge it.
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2 In the first line of the poem, Piercy says, “This girlchild was born as usual.” The use of the term “girlchild” immediately highlights the fact that she was a girl born into a society that is obsessed with labels and predetermined ideals. If Piercy had just said “child” instead of “girlchild,” then the reader would not have pictured a girl and what everyone believes to be normal for a girl. If she had simply said “child” then the reader would only picture the typical norms and ideals for a child of any gender. When she says, “as usual,” Piercy is trying to confirm the idea that we experience immediate standards to live up to from the moment we are born.
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