Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time

January 26, 2010 scitina
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Although I have not finished the entire book yet, the question has been on my mind since the beginning of the novel. Is Connie crazy? And is this futuristic place of Mettapoisett real? The story focuses around Connie and her treatment within the mental hospital and her visions of a “person” from the future. She travels back and forth through time and communicates specifically with Luciente, who is a sender while Connie is described as the catcher.

My question is, how are we supposed to trust the account of someone who is detained in a mental ward. Connie gives a detailed account of how the drugs make her feel and the mistreatment of the nurses and the doctors toward her, but I feel like we must also remember that the reader is only hearing her point of view. Connie makes it seem like the world is against her and she can’t catch a break or earn trust from anyone. Maybe the reader should consider, why are all these people against her? Is there a reason that she is being confined and admitted into a mental hospital. Perhaps that she actually is mental?

After hearing Connie’s description of the future world and Mettapoisett I believed that this place could be possible and the effects from our habits in this world could very possibly lead to a time like this. However, Connie at first becomes discouraged and thinks that after everything she has gone through, her hope of her children having a better life eventually has also demolished. Connie’s situation sparks pity and sympathy from the reader for the hardships she must endure. However, it is interesting that many people and events within the future society remind her of her home and family within her own society. They also seem to relate with her wrongings and agree with her. For example on page 119, Jackrabbit says, “we’d be stupid not to sense you’re confined wrongly. That you hurt and sadden there and no one seems to want to help you heal. That you are fed drugs that wound your body. Enjoy us.” Hearing these descriptions makes me believe that this could be a way of her coping with the terrible situation she has been placed in. She needs someone to understand her side and she could easily just of made that person/place up. When I reach the end of the story, maybe some of my questions will be answered, but at this point in the novel I truly believe it is possible because Connie is admitted and constrained that she really is crazy and she is hallucinating her connection with the future.


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One Comment Add your own

  • 1. elliebrewster  |  February 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Another way of looking at it is to think about why Piercy wrote the novel. She wants to contrast a heteropatriarchal, hierarchical society against a consensus-based one. She’s asking us to look at our own society and see what’s wrong with it.

    Your quote from Jackrabbit makes sense to me. If you’re living in a system that is hurting you, it’s quite sensible to think there must be something wrong with the system.

    So I vote for Mattapoisett. I think Connie has all her marbles, and in the end makes a choice between the two societies.

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