Who is the speaker in the poem?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The speaker of Marge Piercy's poem "Barbie Doll" is unnamed, but she/he appears to be a third-person narrator who relates the story of the young girl whom he/she has either known or been told about by another party. The poem reads as though one were relating a news story of "local color."  Of course, the ending skewers the news report because there is a certain amount of satire attached to the last two lines:

In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.

This young girl has been made to be ashamed of her physical appearance and has become obsessed with improving it to the point that she has killed herself.  But, now, at least the people can say that she is beautiful is clearly a ironic remark aimed to satirize Mattel Toys, the company who produced this doll that perpetuates gender stereotypes by idealizing this doll whose waistline is preposterous.

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