Woman on the Edge of Time Characters

Marge Piercy

The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Connie’s powerlessness equals the feminine condition in this world. She is an institutionalized woman, literally and figuratively. Piercy graphically depicts the horrors of Connie’s life in mental institutions. She shows the isolation; the sluggish nightmare world of strong tranquilizers; the neglect and disdain of the staff and doctors; the malign bureaucracy; the lack of hygiene, good food, clothing, privacy, and contact with the outside world. The horror increases when Connie is among the patients forced to participate in an experiment in which electrodes are to be surgically implanted in her brain to suppress violent behavior. Yet the ghastliness of her situation is felt far more intensely than the strength of her personality. The character of Connie is the central weakness of the novel: In both worlds, she is a spectator. As a character, she certainly arouses sympathy, but not strong identification and caring. Connie is the author’s self-conscious political construct, an emblem of victimization of all women more than a fully realized and engrossing fictional being.

Connie seems a puppet in a political allegory because this is a thesis novel. Thesis overpowers characterization. The thesis is simply summarized, though not simply realized in life. Woman must go to war with her society, battle the many forces that hold her captive, and win freedom, if not for herself, for future generations. This is not, however, the archetypal war of the sexes....

(The entire section is 419 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Consuelo (Connie) Camacho Ramos

Consuelo (Connie) Camacho Ramos (kohn-SWEH-loh kah-MAH-choh RRAH-mohs), a thirty-seven-year-old Mexican American woman whose early beauty has been erased by hard times and tragedy. Her first husband was killed, and her daughter was taken from her by the state’s child welfare agency, but she is determined to survive. Once she used her mind at college; now she uses it to live with crushing poverty. She is fiercely loyal to what she has left of her family, a niece, and it is a fight with her niece’s pimp that results in her entering a mental hospital. From there, Connie discovers a unique talent: She can commune with the future. With the help of Luciente, a woman from the future, she visits Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, in the year 2137 and is amazed by the utopian life that she finds there. Meanwhile, back in 1976, she battles the doctors who wish to perform neuroelectric experiments on her in a struggle that is fueled by the social consciousness that she is developing under Luciente’s tutelage.

Luciente of Mattapoisett

Luciente of Mattapoisett (lew-see-EHN-teh), a woman in her thirties with sleek black hair, black eyes, and bronze skin. She is from the year 2137 and, as a “sender,” is able to contact receptive people from the past, such as Connie. Luciente works primarily as a plant geneticist, although, like everyone in her village, she shares in a number of other tasks. She is energetic, kind, and sensitive. She acts as Connie’s guide and ambassador during Connie’s...

(The entire section is 686 words.)