Secretary Chant

1533 Words Aug 17th, 2012 7 Pages
In the poem “The Secretary Chant” by Margie Piercy, a woman working as a secretary is depicted as undervalued and unappreciated by her employer. With this poem being written in 1936, the idea of women in the workplace was fairly new. Women were not given equal treatment as employees and were in the beginning stages of their fight for equality. The year the poem was written most certainly plays an integral role in the poem’s tone, structure, diction, and theme. Throughout the poem, it is obvious that the secretary feels as if her job consumes her to the point where she is only seen as an object in the business in which she is employed rather than a human being or woman. The poet uses office materials to replace the secretary’s body parts, …show more content…
Repetition serves as a solid literary device used to develop the main theme of the poem. Repetition is used in this poem as a way in which to capitalize the monotony of the secretary’s occupation. This also contributes to the overall robotic tone that is emphasized as the reader reads the poem. Repetition not only serves as a contributor to the tone of the story, but also as a symbol. The use of repetition symbolizes the feelings of the secretary. She feels entrapped and enslaved to her job due to the unfair reduction of her humanity. The repetition also symbolizes the continuous cycle that is experienced by women in general during the time period in which the poem was written. Women were constantly fighting for equality, but continued to be treated inhumanely. The use of the anaphora in lines 1, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 14 when the poet repeats “My” six times, it can be inferred that her mental strength to press forward despite her feelings of degradation is becoming wearier each day that passes. Repetition is used to place emphasis on or draw attention to a certain aspect. The poet uses the anaphora to draw the reader’s attention to how mentally draining the secretary’s situation is. This device could also be viewed as a ploy to evoke some sense of emotion from the reader. This places the reader deeper into the mind of the secretary making the reader feel sympathy or maybe even anger towards the secretary’s status in the workplace.
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