Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace

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In Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, the reason for Mary Whitney’s manifestations through Grace are quite odd and intriguing, but a mystery all the same. Throughout the novel, Atwood applies the constant switching of identities between Grace and Mary to illustrate how both characters aid each other when faced with misfortune. This enigma results in a symbiotic relationship in which Mary’s persona guides Grace’s confession during hypnosis while Grace physically fulfills Mary’s goals. When the opportunity to “prove” her innocence presented itself, Grace decided to use Mary Whitney as a way to subliminally confess her guilt while still seeming innocent. Taking into account Jerome’s condescending ways and ever changing personalities, it seems highly…show more content…
She decides to give Mary a proper burial, which is ironic because her biological mother had not received one. This further supports the idea that Mary was more of a maternal figure to Grace than her actual mother. Consequently, Grace becomes more attentive to Mary’s idiosyncrasies as they show up in her daily life, like the way she spoke to vulgar men or the way she talked about quilting. Since Mary had plans for her future, including marriage, but passed away, Grace made it her task to fulfill Mary’s wishes on her own even is she didn’t want to marry. “I was too young to think about husbands, Mary talked about them a great deal. When she’d saved enough of her wages she was going to marry a nice young farmer whose land was already cleared and a house built; and if she could not get one of those, she would settle for one with a log house...” (Atwood 166). Grace worked diligently on her marriage quilt all throughout her time in prison; not to stay busy, but to show commitment and to fulfill a dream Mary never had the privilege of completing. Later on in the novel, Grace has fulfilled her promise as she describes her life after she is set free- she is married to a farmer, Jamie Walsh, and is living in a log cabin. Ironically enough, Grace is three months pregnant, maybe about the same time Mary aborted her child. Mary’s wishes are met once Grace’s last quilt, the Tree of Paradise, is completed. The completion

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