Alias Grace


Introduction Margret Atwood a long time celebrated author,

has most recently published Alias Grace. Atwood has taken

a different approach to this novel. Although fictional this

story has been based on reality. Grace Marks, the main

character is indeed, on of the mid-eighteen hundreds most

famous criminals. She was the celebrated villain of the

Kinnear-Montgomery murders. This novel has a terrific

sense of mystery but also enough interest to engage the

reader into its historical drama. Plot Summary Alias Grace,

begins in the main character, Grace Marks', sixteenth year of

incarceration for the murder of Thomas Kinnear, her past

employer. Her supposed accomplice in the murders has

already been killed for the murder of Kinnear, although

Marks being a woman was handed a lighter sentence of life,

although originally sentenced to death also. The death of

Nancy Montgomery, Kinnear's housekeeper and mistress,

was disregarded as both villain had already been sentenced

to death. Grace is around thirty years old, being accused of

the crimes when she was only sixteen. Grace is prison where

she has been mentally tortured during her rotation from

prison to asylum over time. Doctors who wish to "examine"

her frequently visit. She has now has a subconscious

aversion to these doctors and the world which she knows.

She has become accustomed to being silent and unseen. This

novel begins with the interest of a young doctor in Grace,

Dr. Simon Jordan. He is noted as being from a wealthy

family and of good name, but is more interested in studying

abroad about sanity and those enclosed in asylums rather

than interest at home. He has little experience in dealing on a

personal basis with the question of sanity of patients, but is

intrigued by this fabulously sensationalized murderess. A

group that has continuously tried for the pardon of Grace

Marks has recruited him. In hopes of discovery that she has

been found mentally sane and furthermore innocent on all

counts of murder. Dr. Jordan's main purpose is to help

recover the lost memory of the time during the murders. This

memory which some to believe was conveniently forgotten

helped convict her during the trial; almost as if she had

admitted to the killings. During the course of his visits with

Grace, Dr. Jordan encourages her to tell of her life before

the murders. Grace begins her story with her family in

Scotland. Grace had been left with her abusive father and

the smaller children after her mother died on the passage to

America. A trip taken for necessity rather that need: for her

father was in a bit of financial trouble in Scotland. Grace is

sent out in Canada as a servant. Here is where Grace meets

her first true friend, Mary Whitney. Mary teaches Grace to

be her own person. Unfortunately, Mary has a horrible death

due to a bad surgical abortion and Grace is left alone and

trouble by the gruesome death of her friend. Grace travels

from house to house looking for the right setup for her

services. Finally, she meets Nancy Montgomery the

housekeeper of Thomas Kinnear. She takes a job under

Nancy mistakenly believing in their friendship. Soon Nancy

is overtaken with Grace in the house, she becomes

increasingly jealous of her role with Mr. Kinnear. This leads

to the obvious discovery of a romantic relationship between

Kinnear and Montgomery. With the proposed dismissal of

Grace and the hired hand McDermott, Grace is led with

McDermott into killing the two and robbing them for their

own escape. Although not long after, in a hotel, Grace and

McDermott, even though ironically using the alias Mary

Whitney, are arrested. At this point in Dr. Jordan's analysis

of Grace months have passed. He has become more and

more involved in the Grace Marks story. This reaches the

point to where he believes he has fallen in love with her. In

return he has taken to his landlady to relieve his frustrations

of his untouchable desires for Grace. Dr. Jordan becomes

even more involved with the case and is determined to find

out the memory lapses in Grace's story. The group who

hired Dr. Jordan has become restless for his slow process to

uncovering the truth. Dr. Jerome DuPont enters the medical

study of Grace Marks. Although Grace has known Jerome

before but as a peddler and friend named Jeremiah. Much to

the dismay of Jordan, DuPont is given the opportunity to put

Grace into hypnosis, in full view of her peers. During this

momentous scene, Grace is hypnotized into a state of

unconsciousness where she able to retrieve memories not

perceived during consciousness. Grace, after asked many

specific questions, uncovers the mystery of the night of the

murders.