Not only the fact murdering her employer, Tomas Kinnear and housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery draw a wild public attention, but also the gender and age of Grace shock people. Because it is not a common sense that a sixteen year-old woman(or a girl) has any motivation to kill two innocent people without a second thought. Due to the complex situation of this case, even though Grace narrowly escape from death sentence which has happened on James McDermott(who also is considered as the murder), she is still tortured at first several years since people suspect her is a psychotic.
In short, to find out whether Grace is mad or not; Whether Grace really is a violent murder or not, probably is the way to understand this story. So, this paper will argue that Alias Grace suggests that Grace’s second personality of violence is made by those external individual forces that company Grace through her whole life. The first time Grace suffers the pain form violent separation of her mother is in the voyage to Canada when the whole family looks forward a better life. In this long distance travel, no matter how serious the food shortage will be, Grace is still willing to share her limited biscuits to an old woman named Mrs.
Phelan who travels with two her daughter’s children. However, when Grace’s mother falls gravely ill and badly needs help, the ship’s doctor does not come as if Mrs. Phelan claims “it is shame and they would treat a cow better. ”(Atwood 137) The mental gap of people’s morals doubtlessly hurt Grace deeply. Finally, the way burying her poor mother is simply tipped into sea, which is a kind of violent separation for Grace and mother. Normally, the children’s life without mother may not be too terrible if they are companied with father.
But, that is absolutely a daydream for Grace because in her memory, nothing about father are not full of domestic violence. Grace’s father is totally a drunker and never thinks about finding a decent job to support the family, especially after Grace’s mother dead and the family lives in tough. All he does is to keep drinking and try to compel Grace to work for family’s daily payments. Ironically, although Grace feels sad for leaving her little brothers and sisters(Grace is the oldest children before she leaves family), she is sort of thankful to this chance which actually is a time to get rid of her father’s rages.
Meanwhile, after tolerating so much domestic violence from her father, sometimes, some evil ideas once flash in Grace’s mind, like she hopes that the heavy iron cooking pot should happen to drop on her father while he is sleeping, which definitely will kill him. However, the contradictory thing is that she somehow is also afraid that the fiery red anger that is in her heart against her father will drive her to it. (Atwood 149). The second violent separation happens between Mary Whitney and Grace.
In Grace’s heart, Mary Whitney is an explicit and enthusiastic girl but suffers a lot from emotional violence at the end of her life, which will never be forgotten to Grace. After losing mother, Grace regards Mary as the most important and dependable person in the world. Indeed, Mary’s positive attitude towards life influences Grace becoming more optimistic towards future. Compared with Mary, Grace is absolutely as ignorant as an egg. Usually, Grace is astonished at those coarse words which are used by Mary while Mary herself feels nothing about it. Atwood 173) What is more, Grace is such an innocent girl who even feels afraid of going a long way around to buy a dress and also feels frightened but curious to see the street where the whore live. (Atwood 175) Obviously, Grace will keep her pure nature as long as the emotional violence never come into Mary’s life. Unfortunately, this peace is broken by Mary’s death caused by failed abortion, which actually reveals the unjust discrimination against women in society. In some aspects, to relate back to Mary’s miserable fate, we could say that it is emotional violence which comes from the inhuman society kills Mary Whitney.
Speaking of prison, a symbol of violence for Grace, she has a horrible experience in there before Dr. Jordan comes. Without any significant evidences, Grace is sent into Asylum as a psychotic, locked with other real psych-patients. She witnesses a lot of mad women who are tormented by matrons while those keepers enjoy this kind of physical violence. Similarly, situation in prison is as same as it in Asylum, Grace has to endure the sexual offend from Dr. Bannerling who pretends to do regular test but actually is a filthy bastard.
Meanwhile, life in prison is barbaric and brutal, prisoners are treaded only with the limited bread and water as daily food without any meat or even any cabbage. Under such psychological and physical violence, it is hard to imagine how those prisoners survive from this. What is more, the reason why Grace is afraid of seeing any doctors is that she once hears, that James McDermott is cut into pieces like a pig after being sentenced to death. So, it is easy to understand why Grace, with so many violent and bloodcurdling memories in the mind, then asks Dr.
Jordan over and over again as if he comes to cut her open at their vary first meet. To combine those experiences above together, it is clear to see that different violences always exist around Grace’s life and the negative impacts eventually explore when Dr. Dupont hypnotizes Grace and unlocks all the memories that Grace can not remember before. During the hypnosis, Grace is not Grace any more and it looks like her second personality is talking. The strange voice keeps changing in different conversations.
The memory about relation with James McDemott is full of sexual violence, which makes the Governor’s wife intends to leave. Then, when Dr. Jordan recalls the murdering scene to Grace, she sort of enjoys it and even claims that Nancy Montgomery deserves dying since the wage of sin is death. (Atwood 481) Obviously, at that moment, Grace acts like a psych-killer and she enjoys sharing these violent stories while she does not afraid at all, which is absolutely different from the original Grace who looks peaceful and even smiles to everyone in the room after she wakes up.
So this is Grace’s second personality which is similar to a collapsar swallowing all kinds of violences. The hypnosis is the first and also the last scene that displays to people the second personality of Grace. However, it is a connection between those violent experience and Grace’s second personality. This scene actually emphasizes how many negative influences are brought to Grace through her harsh experience, rather than how serious the madness is.
Meanwhile, we will never know who the “voice” is, even though after many assumptions(such as Mary, Nancy, James… ). That is to say, probably, there is no a particular person and all these odd behaviors and words come from every character who once leaves different violent memories to Grace. The story about Grace is indeed a tragedy, however, when the whole society is covered by violence and everyone’s heart hides an evil, then it will become the real tragedy. Work Cited Atwood, Margaret. Alias Grace. Toronto: Seal, 2000. Print.