The Secretary Chant is a poem by Marge Piercy that explores the idea of identity. The speaker in the poem is a woman who is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants in life. The poem starts with the speaker saying that she is tired of being a secretary and wants to do something else with her life.
She then goes on to list all of the things that she has to do as a secretary, such as answer phones and type letters. The speaker then says that she wants to be more than just a secretary, and that she wants to find her own identity. The poem ends with the speaker saying that she is going to start looking for her own identity, and that she is not going to let her job define her.
The Secretary Chant is a poem that speaks to the experience of many women who feel trapped in their jobs. The speaker in the poem is tired of her job and wants to do more with her life. The poem speaks to the idea of finding one’s own identity, and how important it is to not let your job define you. The Secretary Chant is a powerful poem that will resonate with many readers.
In “The Secretary Chant,” Marge Piercy uses various literary devices to bring to life a woman who has lost her identity to her job. The poem centers around the use of metaphors to allow readers to understand how the speaker has become consumed by her career. However, in addition to extended metaphors, Piercy also employs paradox, personification, and puns throughout the poem which serve as further evidence of the speaker’s feelings of entrapment and desperation.
The Secretary Chant is a poetic story that speaks to anyone who has felt they have lost themselves to their job.
The poem begins with the speaker listing all of the things she does as a secretary. She “shreds paper into snow” and “tap-dances on the keyboard.” The speaker seems to be happy in her work, but as the poem progresses, it becomes clear that she is not. The speaker says that she is “a well-oiled machine,” but she is also “a human sieve.” The reader can see that the speaker is starting to feel like her job is taking over her life.
The speaker continues to use metaphors to describe her situation. She says that she is “a cog in the great machine,” and that her life is “a straight and narrow path.” The speaker is starting to feel like she is just a small part of something bigger, and that her life is very constricted.
The speaker also uses personification to describe her job. She says that her work “eats me alive,” and that it is “a hungry beast.” The reader can see that the speaker feels like her job is consuming her.
The poem ends with the speaker making a pun on the word “chant.” She says that she chants “I am not my job, I am not my job,” in order to remind herself that she is more than just her work. The speaker has realized that her job has been taking over her life, and she is trying to reclaim her identity.
The Secretary Chant is a powerful poem about a woman who has lost herself to her job. Piercy uses metaphors, personification, and the pun to bring the character alive. The poem speaks to anyone who has felt they have lost themselves to their work.
Both implied and explicit metaphors enable the reader to deeply identify with the poem’s protagonist. From the poem’s first line, the tone is established. It is so general as to employ a simple simile, yet a powerful illustration of the notion of the speaker is an actual personification of a tangible object. She does not say, “My hips are like a desk,” but rather, “My hips are a desk.”
The poem is written in the first person, which allows the reader to feel as if they are part of the speaker’s experience. The situation is also relatable because many people have trouble finding their identity, and this can be a result of societal expectations. The title of the poem, “The Secretary Chant,” suggests that the speaker is a secretary, and she has trouble conforming to this role. The chant could also be interpreted as a way for her to find her identity, or it could be something she tells herself to help get through her day.
The fact that it is called a “chant” makes it seem like a ritualistic thing she does, which adds to the idea that she is trying to find herself.
The poem is divided into four stanzas, and each one starts with the phrase “I am…” This emphasizes the idea that the speaker is trying to find her identity. In the first stanza, she talks about how her hips are like a desk, and how she has to sit all day. This could be interpreted as her being uncomfortable in her own skin, or it could be interpreted as her being uncomfortable with the role she has to play in society.
The second stanza talks about how her breasts are like typewriters, and how they have to pound all day. This could be interpreted as her feeling objectified, or it could be interpreted as her feeling like she has to work hard all the time.
The third stanza talks about how her womb is like a filing cabinet, and how it has to hold all the files. This could be interpreted as her feeling like she has to be perfect all the time, or it could be interpreted as her feeling like she has to keep everything together. The fourth stanza talks about how her head is like a computer, and how it has to process all the information. This could be interpreted as her feeling like she has to think all the time, or it could be interpreted as her feeling like she is always on the verge of a breakdown.