Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood

890 Words4 Pages
Set in the Victorian era where women remained at the bottom of the social and economic ladder, Alias Grace's female characters emerged out of the stereotypes of its time. Not only were they unique and extremely dynamic but Margaret Atwood's characters stood for more than just the unconventional women of such a society. They were strong and able women who overcome the traumas in their lives. They chose not to be labelled by impressions of the ideal women rather they made their own mark in society. In addition, the central female characters each defied one central stereotype of the time by either their actions or their social position. In other words, Margaret Atwood's female characters opposed the stereotypical view of women in the Victorian era. The prime example of Grace Marks, she depicted an institutionalized woman charged with committing murder which is unconventional to the typical woman. Typical Victorian women were considered too naive to commit a crime. Their inability to manipulate their way through a situation, to exert physical force or coercion were reasons why they are incapable of such atrocities. (KÜÇÜK, 2013) Not only this, but even if the woman was detained for such an offense she is likely labelled as an accomplice to a man, as was in the case with Grace Marks. But Margaret Atwood unfolded a different truth about Grace's character, one leading to the impression of her second personality of Mary Whitney. Throughout the course of the novel Grace represented the ideal Victorian women, but towards the end Atwood portrayed her as a murderess and a highly manipulative character. At the time of the murder, not only was Grace able to manipulate James McDermott into prolonging Nancy Montgomery's death by saying that, "h... ... middle of paper ... mere pawns at the hands of the females. Thus, all the men in Alias Grace created this illusion of their significance for society, but ultimately they remained puppets in the hands of the woman. Works Cited Abrams, Lynn. "The Ideal Woman." BBC News. BBC, 09 Aug. 2001. Web. 14 Jan. 2014. KÜÇÜK, Yonca. "Females in Victorian Era." NEWSTEG the Best Educational News Site in English RSS. İzmit News, 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.< KÜÇÜK, Yonca. "Females in Victorian Era." NEWSTEG the Best Educational News Site in English RSS. İzmit News, 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.> Peterson, M. Jeanne. "The Victorian Governess: Status Incongruence in Family and Society." Suffer and Be Still: Women In the Victorian Age. Ed. Martha Vicinus. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1972. 3-19.
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