Last Updated 16 Jun 2020

Common Theme in Cinderella and Barbie Doll

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In the two poems, "Cinderella and Barbie Doll," both authors use different literary devices to prove a common theme. The common theme throughout both poems is that people will mutilate themselves to obtain what they perceive as happiness. Also, the poems show how societies create a standard of living, which classifies how certain genders should act. The poem "Cinderella" by Anne Sexton is describing the original fairytale "Cinderella" in a distorted view.

Anne Sexton begins her poem by giving examples of impoverished people such as a plumber, a nursemaid, a milkman, and a charwoman whom accidentally got lucky in life and morphed into lavishly living citizens. In the first four stanzas, Sexton uses antistrophe to further convey how important "that story" is to the poem (line 5, 10, and 21). Anne Sexton then shifts to recounting the story of Cinderella in stanza 5. She describes a young girl who lives with her father, mean stepmother, and two pretty, but despicable stepsisters, after her kind mother dies.

The poet uses similes to describe both the two stepdaughters (Line 29) and Cinderella's slave-like tendencies (Line 32). She then talks about how a dove comes out of a tree, granting her every wish. The day of the ball, the dove helps her pick up all the lentils her stepmother had thrown on the floor as a trick to hinder her from going. And with this challenge completed, the dove also gives Cinderella the full royal clothes and treatment. For two days, at the ball, Cinderella manages to steal the prince's heart, escape her stepmother and sister's recognition, and flee back into the pigeon house before getting caught.

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However, the third day, her shoe gets stuck on the sticky waxed steps, thus giving the prince an opportunity to search for his princess by making every girl in the kingdom try the slipper on. In the poem, Cinderella's sisters cut off part of their feet, to get the shoe to fit; however when Cinderella slips her foot into it, it fits perfectly. Stanza 10 encourages sympathy with revenge instead of fighting back; "and the white dove pecked their eyes out. (97).

The author uses a simile, "like two dolls in a museum case" (102), to describe the idea ow women lived like they had a glass ceiling over their head. This further conveys the theme of the poem being how societies create a standard of living, which classifies how genders should act. In the last stanza, Cinderella marries the prince and the wedded couple lives happily ever. Lines 103-106 portrays the author's use of asyndeton to convey how Cinderella and the prince lived with no hardships, which further conveys the theme of the poem that people will mutilate themselves to obtain what they perceive as happiness.

Anne Sexton's language is dark, informal, and humorous. Darkness is achieved when she describes violent scenes of slicing feet, or pecking eyes. Informality shows through the way she addresses the reader directly every now and then. And humor is conveyed in the way Sexton elaborates on the revolting scenes and describes those using comic similes, such as "the hollow spots where the eyes once existed, resembling soup spoons. " The ending of the poem reveals what is always left out of fairytales, reality.

And Sexton somehow implies that a lack of life's hardships and tiny imperfections is not the happy ever after life, but rather a predictable existence. She declares in the end that Cinderella and her prince don't deserve the prize of living the dream, "their smiles are plastered; they are neither genuine nor sincere (107). " Cinderella is just like the plumber, the charwoman, or the nursemaid. She got lucky. None of them worked their way to the top. And that's what they deserved, a seemingly happy life, with nothing to be happy about.

The attitude throughout the poem is also very critical of the characters in the poem and judge mental of the Grime Brother's original fairytale. The common misconception in the poem is that many people with seemingly perfect lives have hardships just like everybody else. "Barbie Doll" by Marge Piercy is a poem written as a fairy-tale of sorts, and suggests that the enormous social pressures on women to conform to particular ways of looking and behaving are ultimately destructive. In lines 2-4, Marge Piercy uses polysyndeton to convey how important a girl's accessories are.

Then in lines 5-6, the poem experiences a shift, where the speaker chooses to end the stanza in an ironic way. In stanza two, the poet's diction describes the irony of the girlchild having an "abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity" (9-10). Being good with one’s hands (manual dexterity) is a conventional male trait and similarly, while having an “abundant sexual drive” for boys might be seen as a good thing, for girl's it is been looked down on; thus supporting the theme that certain gender's should act how society wants them too.

Stanza four describes how much society influenced the girl child and lines 12-14; asyndeton is used to show how much society can ask of women. The poem ends full of irony. The very person that the girlchild could never be is the person “appearing” in her casket (19-23). It is ironic that the very people who couldn't appreciate the girlchild for who she was in life, now admire the person she is made to be in death. The last line of the poem echoes the happy ending of fairy-tales.

Piercy is saying that because of women’s subservient position in society, it is often difficult for their lives to have happy endings. In "Barbie Doll", it is society that achieves consummation. "Barbie Doll" is a narrative poem written in free verse and can be read as a parable of what often happens to women in a patriarchal society. The moral of Piercy’s poem also functions as a warning: it urges readers to be aware of the ways in which society shapes our identities and urges women not to compare themselves to idealized notions of feminine beauty or behavior. Cinderella Story" shows the gullibility of women and the unrealistic dream we all have about meeting the perfect man and leading the perfect life. It opens our eyes to the fact that the fairy tale conveyed in the original "Cinderella" rarely ever happens in real life.

Society influences children and women profoundly to the point where they are willing or wanting to change absolutely everything about themselves or die in the poem, "Barbie Doll. Society is also willing to tell people how they should act, specifically based on gender, and if someone falls from that certain spectrum, then they are no good for society. Anne Sexton and Marge Piercy communicate the theme of both poems through the utilization of tone and literary devices. "Cinderella" and "Barbie Doll" share the common theme that people will mutilate themselves to obtain what they perceive as happiness and that society create a standard of living, which classifies how certain genders should act.

Common Theme in Cinderella and Barbie Doll essay

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Common Theme in Cinderella and Barbie Doll. (2017, Mar 28). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/common-theme-in-cinderella-and-barbie-doll/

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