In the present, sometime in the second half of the twentieth century—we might call this “real time,” for short—Connie Ramos is an unlikely heroine: an unfit mother, previously committed to a mental hospital for abusing her four-year-old daughter, Angelina, who was subsequently taken from her for adoption. The so-called caring professions into whose hands she falls label Connie “socially disorganized” (377), a rubric that accounts for the contradictory observations the professionals make—she is “cooperative,” on the one hand, and “hostile and suspicious toward authority,” on the other (379).
The story opens only at the scene when she lost her daughter and the act of violence that she showed against the real enemy who was denying her the right to motherhood. It was the age when motherhood was also controlled; they do not have power and rights on their own motherhood itself. In her own real world, women are punished brutally if they strike back. While lying in the hospital bed her inner anger and frustration is openly erupted when she said, “She hated Geraldo and it was right for her to hate him.
Attacking him was different from turning her anger, her sorrow, her loss . . . into self-hatred, into speed and downers, into booze, into wine, into seeing herself in Angelina and abusing that self born again into the dirty world. Yes, this time was different. She had struck out not at herself, not at herself in another, but at Geraldo, the enemy” (19–20). In that time, the rebellious attitude of mother cannot be taken as righteous, and hidden under the mask of sanity.
This anguish of hers will also not allow her to reunite her with her lost daughter, save her niece, or allow her niece to mother again. In this world of hers, even though Connie thinks that her protest will bear fruit and she will be able to convince the authorities that her violent and sane behavior is for a just cause, so that she will be able to come out of her present situation very fast. But as the story progresses, we come to know that she won’t be able to come out of her present state, only the future will tell. But in the next world ahead there is still the hope.
The link dissolves when again and again, Connie in future remembers the acts of injustice done to motherhood or her irresponsible mothering in the later half of the twentieth century in America (114, 125–7, 160, 183). It was only in utopian Mattapoisett that she can feel the essence of motherhood, where the maternal empathy and violence for that maternal care is understood and realized and taken as a “Affirmative and Powerful Alliance rather than Diseased and Psychoneurotic split. ” But in future, Luciente explains to Connie that the women in the future, voluntarily gives up heir procreative function: “It was part of women’s long revolution.
When we were breaking up all the old hierarchies. Finally there was that one thing we had to give up too, the only power we ever had, in return for no more power for anyone. The original production: the power to give birth. Cause as long as we were biologically enchained, we’d never be equal. And males never would be humanized to be loving and tender. So we all became mothers. ” (105) From the picturesque description of the above novel, it amplifies that the seed of the future lies deep within us in the present state.
In the present disgusted and hopeless state, there is human tendency to look into future-the future where there is happiness, peace and justice all around and people live in harmony. But still in the psychic turmoil of the present state, we are also afraid that may be in the future too that not everything will be bright. There can also be a dark phase of life in the future also which we can face. This mixture of hopes and fears gives us the reason to live in whatever present state we are in.
Piercy Marge Woman on the Edge of Time New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976