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Symbolism in Alias Grace

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Manuchehr Nuraliev

on 8 November 2013

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Transcript of Symbolism in Alias Grace

Symbolism in Alias Grace
Alias Grace is a novel based on the nineteenth century murder of two individuals. Sixteen year old Grace Marks and James McDermott are accused of the murder of the man they work for Mr. Kinnear and Nancy his housekeeper whom he was having an affair with. This novel takes place in Canada and is about the discovering the truth, if Grace Marks is innocent in these murders. It is also about her struggles and obstacles, dealing with different doctors and people along the way.
Dr. Jordan allows Grace to confide in her, which gives the reader a look into what really happened in the Kinnear residence.
Flashbacks and imagery are the most often used Literary methods.
Red apple:
*Foretells Grace's marriage
*Confuses the reader with many 'J' characters
*Grace+apple= Eve - fruit of knowledge
*Transition from innocence to womanhood.
*Soft boiled egg describes the high class women's bums at the Governor's house.
*They are fragile and easily broken
*Grace wishes she were beautiful and delicate like egg.
Although this novel is fictional, it is based on factual events. The murders of Nancy & Thomas actually happened in the mid 1800's.
The fictional character Dr. Jordan was put into the story to add a personality that was confronting to Grace.
The reader is kept guessing as to whether or not Grace Marks committed the crime.
Atwood puts so much emphasis on Imagery, and Alias Grace is a perfect example of that. Many of the smaller details gives the reader a vivid imaginative depiction of what is going on in the story.
Imagery Descriptions
Peach: Indication of Grace's fear of being analyzed, she feels herself as vulnerable as a peach. Although inconsistent with the hard skinned self she has presented all these years, but there is still either another layer to penetrate that is well protected or she knows the reality of the inner Grace and sees it as -a stone.
*Root vegetable. Dr.Jordan hoped that through association of meaning, Grace would remember the events of the day of the murder of Nancy & Thomas
*The vegetable reflects duality of superficial meaning vs hidden meaning. Dr. Jordan intended for Grace to grasp the underlying meaning of the vegetable rather than the vegetable itself
Grace Mark's character:
She is the narrarator for most of the novel. She is a sixteen year old girl that is accused of the murders of her employer Thomas Keener and his housekeeper Nancy. During the novel she is placed in prison where the novel sometimes goes into her deep thoughts and feelings brought out by Dr. Jordan, however she is very contained and specific with the words she uses because she learns that people believe she is crazy. If she does act out in prison she is punished.
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