Woman on the Edge of Time Critical Context - Essay

Marge Piercy

Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Marge Piercy is one of America’s most political writers. The seriousness of her convictions and the intensity of her commitment to change in the lives of women are apparent in all of her works. Woman on the Edge of Time may be her most direct response to questions about what kinds of changes she seeks. In this novel, she both outlines the problems that she sees and explicates the transformations that she envisions. Frequently, reviewers have remarked that this is really two novels, a realistic fiction and a Utopian fantasy, and each might be more effective if presented separately. On the contrary, the dialectic between present and future is essential to her thesis, to her investigation of humanity’s potential for change.

The change in Connie appears startling. In the last chapter, she tells a fellow inmate, “I was not born and raised to fight battles, but to be modest and gentle and still.” Soon after making this statement, she addresses herself in the mirror and articulates her new perception of herself and of the world: “I murdered them dead. Because they are the violence-prone. Theirs is the money and the power, theirs the poisons that slow the mind and dull the heart. Theirs are the powers of life and death. I killed them. Because it is war.” Although Piercy devotes much energy to making Connie’s sanity convincing, the narrative continuum of her life experience, her time-travel experience, and her declaration of war at...

(The entire section is 410 words.)