Alias Grace Questions and Answers: Sections 12-15, Chapters 45-53

Margaret Atwood

Questions and Answers: Sections 12-15, Chapters 45-53

Questions
1. In the book’s earlier chapters, Jeremiah the peddler was known as a fortune-teller who knew the truth. What truths emerged from his predictions?

2. How do the accounts of Mrs. Moodie, the writer, and Kenneth MacKenzie, the lawyer, further complicate the historical record surrounding Grace’s case?

3. How do Grace’s comments under hypnotism connect to her dream in chapter 35, or to the voices she heard immediately after Mary’s death?

4. In what ways does Simon fail to help Grace? In what ways is it evident that he was able to help Grace?

5. Why is the novel’s title, Alias Grace, reflective of the story told? What does it say about Grace’s story, as well as Mary Whitney’s?

Answers
1. Jeremiah predicted trouble for Grace while at the Parkinsons' and again at Mr. Kinnear’s. Even as Jerome DuPont, the hypnotist, he managed to extract the truth about Grace’s divided mental state at the time of the murder.

2. It’s indicated that Mrs. Moodie wrote that Grace saw Nancy’s “eyes” following her, when what Grace said was that she saw red peonies. MacKenzie took Mrs. Moodie’s lead and urged Grace to say things in court that agreed with this thesis rather than Grace’s.

3. Grace dreamed Mary’s soul was trying to exit the place where it was trapped, but Grace, during her conscious state, is unaware that Mary’s soul is trapped in her and can act through her. Grace also was aware of a voice asking to be let out or let in shortly after Mary’s death and speculated that she may not have acted in time to release that soul.

4. Simon is unable through talk therapy to get to the bottom of the events that took place during the murder. DuPont succeeds in doing this through hypnosis. However, Simon does help Grace with her self-esteem and to discover that her voice and judgments are sound. The narration in chapters 51 to 53 uses Grace’s first-person voice, with her addressing an absent Simon. Though he is no longer present for her physically, his past listening has taught her to feel that her story and her life are legitimate.

5. When Grace was involved in the Montgomery-Kinnear murder, her alias was Mary Whitney. Yet, as Grace Marks, she was forever branded as a murderess. The novel tells the story of the true events of Grace’s life, rather than the events of the murder, reassigning her with the “alias” of her own name—the name of an innocent woman.