"The Secretary Chant" by Marge Piercy

Essay by chatman_99High School, 12th grade July 2003

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How would you feel if everyday from 9 to 5 you hear, fix me a cup of coffee, secretary; file these papers, secretary; schedule a meeting, secretary. This chant reminds me of the one that Cinderella's stepmother and sisters where saying when they wanted the house clean and to prevent this young lady from attending the ball to meet her prince charming. Although that story was fictional, Marge Piercy managed to change the tune from a Cinderella's chant to The Secretary Chant. She describes the duties and personal feelings that female secretaries are too afraid to say because they may lose their jobs for taking a stand. A stand for what, you may ask. A stand to be treated as a human being and not as a machine. As a secretary myself, I am empathic to Piercy's feelings. Each day that I go to my job, I wonder if my employer understands how important I am to her business.

Do she really understand that without a devoted secretary her business would be in total chaos?

Marge Piercy brought my feelings to life with this poem. She starts off with the line on how she has become one with her environment, one with her desk and the supplies that accentuate it. "My hips are a desk." "From my ears hang chains of paper clips. Rubber bands form my hair." The lines start to paint a physical description of what she (Piercy or secretary) feels as though she is becoming. She continues describing her appearance with the lines "breasts are quills of mimeograph ink," and " feet bear casters."

The sound in this poem creates a feeling of habit and mindlessness to the reader. "My head is a badly organized file. My head is a switchboard." Please get Judge Day's assistant on...