Overview: Marge Piercy’s novel, Woman on the Edge of Time, takes a dive into the perspective of a mentally ill woman who experiences time travel to a utopian future. Specifically, the novel follows Connie, the protagonist, through her torturous life in a mental ward. She struggles to find any enjoyment in her quarantined life, finding stimulation only through visits from her friends and family. Furthermore, she struggles as a person of color living in poverty. These conditions only lead her mental state to worsen. Her solution for her perpetual agony and looming mental problems is her frequent trips to a utopian future, which act as an escape for Connie. Piercy dwells on the topic of mental health in her novel under several lenses, but she expounds on the importance of receiving proper treatment. Within the novel, the mental hospital is an agonizing setting where Connie makes absolutely no progress in her receival of treatment. The doctors are depicted as villainous, though in reality, they just have no clue what is wrong with her. Ultimately, the doctors struggle to properly diagnose and treat Connie, and her wasted time and search for an escape only fuel her desire to abandon the ward altogether. However, Connie could have benefitted with a diagnosis and treatment if the doctors had the necessary knowledge to handle a person of her kind. In many real world cases, doctors fail to provide needed treatment to people of color and/or those who struggle financially. By observing Connie’s lack of progression in the mental ward, we can see that the doctors fail to meet expectations for her treatment. All the while, the state of our own world suffers from the same exact problem, making Piercy’s statement a burning call to the audience for the better treatment of people of color or economically disadvantaged individuals.
Author's reflection: My name is Corey Flores and I am two years into my college career. I spent my first two years at St. John Fisher as an Interactive Media major. Though I learned a lot and enjoyed elements of this career path, I found that my greater passion was somewhere else. Because of this, and the effects of COVID-19, I decided to take a gap year before resuming my studies. Ultimately, I will be changing majors when I return, taking on Audio and Music Engineering. Storytelling has always been an inclination for me. Through various mediums, I’ve consistently found myself excelling in the act of storytelling. Writing is a profound example of this; coming up with the right words to communicate my message to an audience is enjoyable to me. Creating visual art with an emphasis on dynamism and character is satisfying. But what intrigues me most of all is writing music that sends the listener into its world, and then producing, mixing, and mastering it. By the time a master is finalized, the song not only tells a story through composition, but through the nuances in mixing and production. Overall, my first two years at St. John Fisher have been integral to my personal and intellectual growth. I feel a sense of accomplishment having contributed to the 3690 Journal for my writing as a freshman. I’ve grown to become a confident writer and storyteller and am greatly looking forward to the sprawling new chapter ahead.
"Woman on the Edge of Time as a Call for Change in Mental Health Treatment for the Disadvantaged,"
3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing: Vol. 2020, Article 1.
Available at: https://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/journal3690/vol2020/iss1/1