To Be of Use by Marge Piercy
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MPLE ESSAY The Use of Us The poem “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy begins: “The people I love the best jump into work head first…” and ends: “The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real.” These few lines along with the title suggest the author’s message, which is that we should each find our unique purpose and we should all strive to be of use. In order to get her message across, the author uses figurative language. In particular, she uses personification: “A pitcher cries for water to carry” (line 25). By having a pitcher cry out for meaningful work, we can easily imagine ourselves doing the same. Also, we can see how ridiculous it is that we strive to use objects appropriately and fully yet we do not always expect the same of ourselves. The author’s use of personification – this comparison between things and people – also suggests that our purposes are distinct. Like pitchers are made to carry water and Greek amphoras are intended to convey oil and Hopi vases are designed to hold corn, people are destined to perform all kinds of various and particular tasks. Everything and everyone are meant to do something different. In addition to figurative language, the author’s point of view helps us to see things her way. She writes in the first person and says things like “I love people who” (8) and “I want to be with people who” (12). She shares with us her admiration for people who know their purpose and who work hard. By telling us whom she admires we feel almost obliged, each one of us, to become someone she admires. Her personal words urge us, the readers, to become people of use. To clarify her point even more, the author’s diction, or choice of words, is very thoughtful. Her words are sensory and physical.

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Author’S Use And Author’S Message. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from