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Marge Piercy born on 31st March 1936 in Detroit led a very depressive life. As a woman, she was grasped in the jaws of time bearing innumerable pains that life has given to her that she adorably captured in this drama of Woman who swept herself over on the edge of future. Her novel, Woman On The Edge of Time is an enthralling story of a middle aged women, Connie Ramos aged 37, totally improvised and abused, put in the confinement of the four walls of psychiatric ward of Bellevue Hospital, when she could not bear the trauma of violence in her home.
Behind these walls, her mind travels into the future.
She began to have visions of the life of the year 2137. Through Connie Ramos, Marge takes us into the worlds, the world in which she is physically available and in the world of future, the world that is going to come for her after150 years-into the world of Mattapoisett. Published in 1976, the words portray vivid pictures of lives of her present state and the life she wants in the future.
This novel gives us vivid multiple pictures of lives especially of the disruptive forces, which were in force in the time when she was physically present and the disruptive forces at work in the future.
The whole story is visualized from the women’s point of view. This story projects the struggle in the Patriarchy society, which was present at the time of the protagonist’s physical presence and in the time period in which she takes us.
At Bellevue psychiatric Ward, Connie, envisioned Luciente, a woman from the future and she took herself to Luciente’s time in a village of Mattapoisett, where all the political and social agendas of the sixties and early seventies were materialized.
It was the period of new awakening, whereby all social problems like Patriarchy, environmental pollution, homophobia, racism, phallogocentrism, consumerism, imperialism, and totalitarianism is totally absent. The society was of prefect order except for few horrific existences whereby rich people living on space platforms dominates the large number of people by making them addicted to drugs and harvests humans’ organs. Connie’s real world was the world of patriarchic society in which the men used her and disposed her.
She even got pregnant due to the rape and her fertility was also snatched from her by male residents at a hospital for undertaking practice of hysterectomies at the asylum. The only male that gave her good treatment was her first husband who was murdered by the police in the streets and the blind pickpocket, Claude, who also died of hepatitis. But in the future, women is treated equally, it was the vision of respect for the fairer sex.
It was “the world without gender” (97) where there is no difference on the basis of gender and they call each other as “sweet friends” and many of the people have more than one sweet friends, though there can be jealousies if one sweet partner engages in relationship with the other. In the new Society, children are given birth in laboratories through randomly selection of genetic attributes and raised them in artificial wombs. In case of death to any member of community, the groups of three “co-mothers” either male or female will be selected to bear the children.
Insertion of Hormones will increase the milk production in any of the parent, whether men or women. This is an ample proof to declare that there are no such words as men or women, as the only one word “per” (person) follows thus breaking all those threads that makes a Patriarchy society. During Connie’s time the place like asylum is like a prison, where she is treated like an object. Margie ridicules the institute like psychiatric ward of a hospital where mentally ill patients are not considered as humans.
After few visits into the future when Connie realized that this is the time for her to raise a war against the catastrophe and overwhelming odds, she declared a war against her torturers. But in this war, she is recaptured and sent back to Rockover, a psychiatric hospital whereby there is no doubt of the fact that she is treated with electroshock-’therapy’, where she will be “filed away among the living cancers of the chronic wards. ” (p. 83).
She is not broken and again she is taken to the future and in the future world Luciente says, “Our madhouses are places where people retreat when they want to go down into themselves — to collapse, carry on, see visions, hear voices of prophecy, bang on the walls, relive infancy — getting in touch with the buried self and the inner mind. We all lose parts of ourselves. We all make choices that go bad……. How can another person decide that it is time for me to disintegrate, to reintegrate myself?
” (p. 60) In the world of future madness is visualized and considered as a normal part of life, and not something which could be defied and ignored. In the future world of mental asylums, all the interests of mad people are taken into account. In the asylum when Connie lives have all the luxuries, like card tables and cards, puzzles and chairs. In yet another ward there are rooms and bathrooms attached with doors, shared by the general public They can also use bicycles, bike not in use, (p 364).
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