Social Concerns / Themes

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 209

Tn her twelfth novel, The longings of Women, Piercy gives readers her most fully-formed ensemble yet: three women, whose lives intertwine, each searching in her own way for a place in the world that cannot be lost to the vagaries of relationships, work, or the economy. This need for a physical and spiritual home supersedes all other quests herein, and The Longings of Women examines that quest from many angles. Rosellen Brewer calls Piercy's portrait of homelessness poignant, and perceptive. In this novel, it is clearly the social issue of greatest magnitude, for the author.

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Elizabeth Marshall Thomas claims The Longings of Women is "about the best account I've seen of the condition of women in America during the recent past. ... It vindicates what every woman over fifty already knows only too well, and presents young women with a chance to gain wisdom without actually aging." What Women Want (vs. what women get) is thematic throughout.

Other issues include redefining "family" to include relationships beyond those long-held culturally normative; specifically, the family as composed of father, mother, two kids and one pet. Despite the danger, the fear, the pain and persecution her characters confront, each knows the redemption of acceptance — and of having "a place" — before this novel's close.

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Characters