Discuss the tone in "Barbie Doll," focusing on word use, irony and exaggeration.
This poem makes use of situational irony, which is a turn of events—where the opposite of what one expects occurs. The subject of the poem is presented with dolls when she is a child, and after dying, she resembles a doll in her casket. The gender stereotypes that have defined and shaped her wind up killing her. "To every woman a happy ending," the poem ends—which is particularly ironic, as the subject of the poem is dead but has been blessed by society as socially appropriate. The poet uses exaggeration to describe a woman's reaction to being told that she is less than physically perfect, as suicide is hopefully an approach that not many people would take to this situation.
The poet uses language appropriate for a child in the first stanza. Words such as "pee-pee" and "wee" show how the girl has been infantilized and trained to think of herself in immature, demeaning ways. The poet also uses vivid similes, such as "her good nature wore out like a fan belt." This simile emphasizes the...
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