The Secretary Chant

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In this poem Marge Piercy s speaker evokes a concrete vision of a woman who has lost her personal identity to her job. Her bold and descriptive use of metaphors allow the reader to envision a woman who is living her life vicariously through her career. Ms. Piercy successfully uses paradox, personification, and the pun to bring the character alive. With the use of metaphors, both implied and explicit, the reader can deeply empathize with the central character of this poem.
From the first line of the poem the tone is set for the reader. It is not so vague as to use a simple simile, but a strong manifestation of the idea of the speaker as an actual personification of a material object. She does not say My hips are like a desk , she says
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Often times the secretary or office assistant are seen as nothing more than robotic extensions completely devoid of human qualities. Press my fingers (11) is an instruction to her boss explaining exactly how she is to provide a function as if she was explaining how to operate any other piece of office equipment. Like any secretary she would have to organize an office and explain to her boss where things were to be found when she was out of the office. From my mouth issue canceled reams (16).
She is clearly telling her boss where he would find the used paper and closed files but the pun intended is that whatever she tells her boss is ignored anyway.
By the time the reader gets to the end of the poem the secretary is fully developed as an inanimate machine, Swollen, heavy (17). She has given up trying to be human and has resigned herself to the fact that she has been taken over completely by the machines that surround her. Metaphorically speaking, with the use of metonymy, the secretary, now as a machine herself is about to be delivered / of a baby Xerox machine (18-20), thus perpetuating a species of human machines.
In the final four lines, the secretary decries that I wonce was a woman and that she needs to be filed under W . She is again giving instructions to her boss that she now serves no real function as a woman and should just be filed away and forgotten. In this way, Ms.
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