Explain how the last line and the literary technique that is used with it reflect the poem "Barbie Doll."

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Marge Piercy ends her poem "Barbie Doll" with the  line "To every woman a happy ending" (25).  Piercy uses the literary technique of irony, because the girl's ending was anything but happy.  Piercy's remark reads as being extremely sarcastic in wishing every girl an ending similar to the young woman in this cautionary tale.  The poet's last line resonates as a warning for other young women facing their futures not to buy into the same artificial stereotypical image of womanhood. 

Piercy also incorporates the literary device of allusion through the words "happy ending" which make the reader think of the cookie-cutter line in fairy tales--"and they lived happily ever after."  Little girls and young women do fantasize about having that fairytale ending, just as the young woman in the poem also imagined that she had to fit into the perfect pretty princess mold in order to be desirable. 

Through irony and allusion, Piercy's final line reinforces the theme of how destructive gender stereotypes can be to women's futures and happiness.

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