Essay PreviewMore ↓
“At her Redeemer’s throne she’ll stand, And she’ll be cured of woe, And He her bloodied hands will wash, And she’ll be white as snow” (15). This quote concludes the beautifully written ballad located in the first chapter of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. By summarizing the events leading up to the murders, the murders themselves, and the ensuing trial, the poem presents the reader with what appears to be a foreshadowing of things to come. However, though the ballad reflects many of the novel’s events, there are several differences which contradict Grace’s narration.
The poetic verse and the story told by Grace contain numerous similarities. As the ballad states at the beginning, Grace says she was sixteen years old when the murders at the house of Thomas Kinnear occurred; James McDermott worked as a stable hand, and Grace was the serving maid. Also alike is the poem’s description of Nancy as a “no well-born lady….who goes in satin and silk, The finest ever seen” (11). When first meeting Nancy, Grace wonders why “a housekeeper would be wanting a dress like that,” (200) immediately noticing Nancy is dressed rather well considering her occupation. When the murders take place in the novel, James strikes Nancy on the head with an axe and throws her into the cellar where she eventually died with an unborn baby in her womb. This event was depicted in the poem, as was the scene where James and Grace steal valuables from Mr. Kinnear’s house and fled across the lake to the Lewiston Hotel in the United States. As the ballad progresses, the two are later arrested at which point Grace states she does not remember seeing the murders take place. Also similar, is James’ declaration of Grace being the one who lead him on, and if not for her the murders would have never happened. When the poem explains how Jamie Walsh marked Grace a murderer at the trial, yet she was given a life sentence while James was hung and dissected at the University, Grace’s tale is reflected perfectly. The ballad concludes with Grace receiving forgiveness and entering a life of paradise. This appears apparent at the end of the novel as Grace is pardoned, and then fulfills her “apple skin prophecy” of marrying a man with a first name beginning with ‘J.’ Though the above events are comparable to the story Grace tells, the ballad contains several discrepancies as well.
How to Cite this Page
"The Truth To A Ballad." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Jan 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Ballad of Birmingham by Dudley Randall In 'Ballad of Birmingham,' Dudley Randall illustrates a conflict between a child who wishes to march for civil rights and a mother who wishes only to protect her child. Much of this poem is read as dialogue between a mother and a child, a style which gives it an intimate tone and provides insight to the feelings of the characters. Throughout the poem the child is eager to go into Birmingham and march for freedom with the people there. The mother, on the other hand, is very adamant that the child should not go because it is dangerous.... [tags: Analysis Ballad Birmingham Dudley Randall Essays]
822 words (2.3 pages)
- American poet Langston Hughes was a critical contributor to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Unlike many notable black poets during that period, Hughes sought to harness the experiences and attitudes of the African American people in the hopes of reflecting their actual culture. Three of Hughes’ poems in particular, “Ku Klux”, “Song for a Dark Girl” , and the Ballad of the Landlord successfully combine aspects of African American culture to relate the unjust treatment they endured for centuries.... [tags: Black people, African American, Race]
1296 words (3.7 pages)
The Nonexistent Female Guide For Perfection : Beyonce 's Ballad Of Gender Inequality And Discrimination
- The Nonexistent Female Guide to Perfection: Beyoncé’s Ballad of Gender Inequality and Discrimination Beyoncé places society on trial for the crime of gender inequality and discrimination with her song Pretty Hurts. Director Melina Matsoukas and singer Beyoncé Knowles illustrated a message of “perfection” with their pop music video. This video raises concerns toward females and the extent they would cross to achieve their obsession of perfection. The quest for perfection has become a norm in society, causing impractical goals and struggles for females.... [tags: Gender, Female, Discrimination, Male]
1093 words (3.1 pages)
- The presence of mirrors is highlighted in this episode. Before this episode there has not been an emphasis on mirrors, even though they appear in other episodes. I feel like the use of this prop is important in understanding the episode. Every time a mirror appears, there is a different circumstance that the character is dealing with. The first mirror appears in Quinn’s house. She is trying on her Chastity Ball dress with her mom, and the dress does not zip up all the way. Quinn is shown in the mirror as the mom measures her stomach.... [tags: TV Show, Analysis]
1604 words (4.6 pages)
- Lust and pleasure as a theme. To His Coy Mistress, The Lover A Ballad, The Passionate Shepherd How have poets presented women and how are gender issues explained Having studied a range of poems regarding gender issues and how women are treated in society, I have chosen to focus on two main poems To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell and The Lover A Ballad by Lady Mary Wortly Montagu. In addition to this I will deal with The Passionate Shepherded to His Love by Christopher Marlowe and The Nymph’s Reply by Sir Walter Raleigh.... [tags: English Literature]
755 words (2.2 pages)
- Critical commentary on Rico Franco ballad. There can be no exact definition of ballads; they are poems of varied length from as short as 16 verses to even 1366. Most often they are expressed through an oral media and narrated musically to accompany dances, portray traditions or historical events. ‘A caza iban, a caza’ is a Novelesque Spanish ballad as it depicts the feelings of honour and justice; a European folklore theme widespread at that time. This ballad paints a story of huntsmen, who overtake a castle called ‘Maynés’ where Rico Franco kidnaps a damsel to take away with him.... [tags: Poetry, Rhyme, Ballad, Refrain]
1483 words (4.2 pages)
- The feelings of alienation and suffering were prevalent in her life and had a direct influence on her writing. The Ballad of the Sad Café is a direct reflection of her personal suffering. The novel could be categorized as simple and to a certain extent grotesque centered around three main characters Miss. Amelia Evans, her Cousin Lymon and ill natured Marvin Macy all of them eccentric individuals. The setting is a small town alienated in characters. In this novella is particular story she deals with her pessimistic outlook on the nature of love, which according to her is bound to bring tragedy.... [tags: Love, Marriage, Ballad]
1963 words (5.6 pages)
- An Analysis of Ballad of the Harp-Weaver Take just a second to read the first eight lines very carefully. Picture yourself as a small child being with your mother or father sitting on their lap as they hold you. It is a good feeling that brings warmth and security to any child or any adult needing to recapture the essence of their childhood. In the first four lines we are to understand that the boy's mother is trying to rub his skin to make him warm. That is what "chafe" means, to warm by rubbing.... [tags: Ballad Harp-Weaver Essays]
926 words (2.6 pages)
- Dudley Randall's Poem Ballad of Birmingham The poem 'The Ballad of Birmingham', by Dudley Randall, is based on the historical event of the bombing in 1963 of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s church by white terrorists. It is a poem in which a daughter expresses her interest in attending a civil rights rally and the mother fearful for her daughter's safety refuses to let her go. In the poem the daughter in fighting for the course of the operessed people of her time/generation instead of going out to play.... [tags: Dudley Randall Ballad Birmingham Essays]
585 words (1.7 pages)
- Lady Mary Wortley Montague's The Lover: A Ballad Literature is a form of art with many facets, many obvious and others subtle. The surface of literature can be composed of many elements such as genre, form, rhythm, tone, diction, sentence structure, etc. Time periods, authors’ personal style and type of work all determine what elements are used in the literature. The deeper more subtle side of literature is the use of symbolism, imagery and the significance of the work. In most works of literature, parallels can be drawn between the author’s personality and current life’s events through the subject matter, the characters, and the use of specific literary techniques.... [tags: Montague Lover Ballad Essays]
2093 words (6 pages)
The beginning of the poem describes Thomas Kinnear as a “gentleman” whom “did love his housekeeper.” However, Grace does not perceive Mr. Kinnear as a gentleman, and like the rest of the town, is “a little curious” (220) of the relationship he has with Nancy. The ballad’s descriptions of Grace charming James McDermott into murder and being in love with Mr. Kinnear are also not reflected in Grace’s narration. Grace never says she was in love with Mr. Kinnear, even admitting to Nancy that she “meant nothing by it” (220) when she complimented him. In a shocking twist, the novel later revealed Grace’s split personality, Mary Whitney, as the one who charms James McDermott into murder, of which Grace has no recollection of in her story. Mary Whitney, a deceased friend whom Grace thinks and dreams of throughout the novel, is never mentioned in the ballad, yet plays an intricate role in the story of Grace Marks. Before Nancy was murdered, she did not tell Grace she would give her three dresses if spared, and the alter ego of Mary Whitney helps strangle Nancy, unlike the poem’s version of Grace as the culprit; once again, Grace cannot remember committing and wrongdoing when she tells her story. The ballad then says “To save ourselves…We must murder Thomas Kinnear,” giving the impression Mr. Kinnear’s murder was circumstantial, but in Grace’s version, James planned to kill Mr. Kinnear from the start. After the murders were complete, James uses the power of fear when forcing Grace to accompany him, but did not threaten to shoot her as the poem states. Towards the end of the poem, the spirits of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery are joined by the junction of the vine growing from Mr. Kinnear’s grave, and the rose bush of Nancy’s. However, when Dr. Jordan visits the grave in the novel, a rosebush blooms at the foot of Nancy’s grave, while Thomas Kinnear’s is barren. Simon thinks to himself, “The old broadstreet ballad, then, was prophetic – but no vine in Thomas Kinnear’s” (386).
The ballad at the beginning of Alias Grace provides beautifully written images of occurrences to come, leaving the reader to consider which events will actually take place. Not all of the poem’s accounts are similar to Grace’s story however, and many differences can be seen. Although, the ballad did contain many truths: a murder was committed, Grace was involved, she was punished for her involvement, and a legend was born.