Overview: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood Essay

Overview: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood Essay

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Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace is a work of historical fiction that has drawn upon several historical sources. As Atwood states these sources are often contradictory to each other and their creators have their own motives and biases in producing them. Atwood uses these contradictory versions of the same events very cleverly to underline the fact that the truth of Grace Marks’ guilt or innocence is no clearer now then it was at the time of her conviction. The novel also provides an interesting look at the historical records of women from different classes and circumstances. Alias Grace shows that history cannot always be discerned from the records and that the truth is often lost between them. When looking at records left behind by various classes of women in the novel the records of the lower class women are not simply statistics as would be expected. The reason that anything is known about Grace Marks or Nancy Montgomery is due to being a convicted murder and a victim respectively, in the Kinnear-Montgomery murders.
Both Grace Marks and Nancy Montgomery are servants and are therefore are of the lower class. Lower class women did not usually leave behind records other than statistics. They were usually working and had little or no leisure time. It would have also been unlikely for lower class women to have been literate or for them to have had the funds to purchase ink, paper and other means needed for writing. Before the murders and her imprisonment Grace would have had very little time to herself. As a servant she would have likely had little money to spare for paper, ink, or stamps for letter writing. Therefore Grace and other women of the lower class would not have had the same luxury as some upper class women who kept ...


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... alleged crime and conviction. Therefore there is no shortage of material about Grace Marks. However, the people writing down this information were subject to their own biases, other influences, and when writing from memory more likely to forget things or remember them incorrectly. Despite the records of her who Grace Marks truly was, like many lower class women who do not have such records, is lost to history.




Works Cited

Margaret Atwood, “In Search of Alias Grace: On Writing Canadian Historical Fiction,” The American Historical Review Vol.108, no. 5(Dec, 1998): 1503-1516, accessed December 26, 2014, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2649966

Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace (USA: Seal Books, 2000), .

Mrs. Moodie (Susanna Moodie), Life in the Clearings versus the Bush (London: R.Bently, 1853), http://eco.canadiana.ca.libproxy.uwinnipeg.ca/view/oocihm.43989/3?r=0&s=1

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