Barbie Doll Questions and Answers
by Marge Piercy

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What is the syntax used in the poem "Barbie Doll" by Marge Piercy?

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Syntax refers to sentence structure, and a typical, grammatically correct sentence contains at least a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb or verbal phrase). Writers might take some license with this typical structure, the expected syntax, in order to emphasize something, to get us to look at something in a new way, or to create a sense of irony. In "Barbie Doll," typical syntax is manipulated this way in a few places.

Firstly, it is typical, when one describes a series of items, to include commas between each item and then the word "and" before the last item: for example, "I went to school, to my friend's house, and then home." However, the first stanza employs a device called polysyndeton, where all commas are omitted and replaced with the word "and" each time:

This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves

(The entire section contains 467 words.)

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