Parallel Voices in Braided Lives
The parallel voice is a device which is present in Marge Piercy's novel, Braided Lives. This technique enforces the effect of Jill's past life on her future life and views. A gauge of the protagonist's growth is given by parallel voices, a technique which enables the reader to see how the protagonist has developed from teenager to adult.
The parallel voices of the young and adult narrator give insight to the changes that have occurred in her life. According to one critic, "Jill is survivor, and she chooses to examine her own past out of a strong commitment to the present" (Gold 378). The novel is a memoir by the adult Jill. It shows " the beginning and the fruits of her political growth," but it leaves the events in the middle up to the reader's imagination (Schwartz 379). She writes of her past experiences and how they effected her. She describes her experiences with objectivity. In her flashback, she can examine why she acted in a certain way. The elapse of time provides her with this objectivity. Since she is looking back, she can highlight certain areas of her past and use them as examples for others.
One of the main issues dealt with in parallel voices is abortion. After the description of Jill's abortion, Piercy writes in italics about Jill's future work concerning abortion.
When father comes home, I sit propped in a chair in the living room dressed in too big skirt and too big blouse with a magazine hanging open in my lap, still slowly bleeding. Brooklyn, 1963. The doctor botched the abortion and she is hemorrhaging. I am one of a group of women who help other women secure abortions...