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Analysis of “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy

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Simple words can drive a person to be happy and successful however, they can also turn fates hand on the innocent few and chase them around their whole lives until they cannot run anymore. Barbie Doll is a tragic poem that tells us about the girlchild’s life from childhood to puberty. Throughout her life the girlchild was bullied and harassed about her appearance because she didn’t live up to the social view of how a young woman should look. So with sadness and the yearning to be accepted she was driven to the point of taking her life. I believe if one soul had the kindness to tell her how beautiful she actually was, the outcome of the story would have changed completely.

Words, what a lot of people tend to forget is that when they speak to someone even if they don’t mean anything by it, do in fact mean things. What started with one child saying “You have a great big nose and fat legs” led to a revolution in this girlchilds emotions. As she walked down the pathway that is life, there was a constant bombardment of sly remarks, and crude words. She was told to put up a shield by “playing coy, exhorted to come on hearty, exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.” but that shield could only hold for so long with the constant assault of crudeness. If someone would have told her she was perfect the way she was instead of telling her what she needed to fix that could have made all the difference in girlchild’s life.

Like all good things, they must come to an end. Unfortunately the girlchild’s good nature had come to its end. And in a final attempt to fit in and finally be accepted she “cut off her nose and her legs and offered them up” so that maybe one person would finally see her for what she was, beautiful. Ironically in her finally offering for others to see her as such, they did “In the casket displayed on satin … Doesn’t she look pretty? Everyone said.” and she got her wish that took her to the end of the road. If one person would have called her beautiful while she was still alive she probably wouldn’t have committed suicide. All it takes is one person showing another kindness in order to alter their life forever. Words have the ability to build people up or tear them down so easily.

Simple words, they can drive someone to happiness and success or in the girlchilds case, drive her to the ultimate end. When people are so caught up in what young women should look like they seem to forget what real beauty is. What they don’t realize the damage done by those they pass by in arrogance. A few simply words can change someones life forever and you may not even know it, but maybe the girlchild opened some eyes by what she had done. But finally, people look at her as beautiful.

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