Alias Grace, Grace Marks

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Grace Marks, in Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, is a young woman accused of murdering her master and his mistress, and is based on a true case. Grace Marks is a complex woman, as most of her personal traits are distorted because they are recorded by unreliable sources. These sources are mainly found in the media, such as newspapers, that tend to include inaccurate information rather than facts. Although the novel seems to be about the question of whether or not Grace Marks was guilty or innocent, it is truly about the Victorian notions of femininity. Women were seen as mortal, yet at the same time they were seducers and manipulators. The novels main idea is about the conflicts that women, who were influenced by the Victorian Age, suffered. Grace’s identity is confusing, as it is made complex by her either trying to protect her innocence or by hiding her guilt. Atwood does an excellent job getting the reader to question this, but her main issue focuses on survival, and how the search for Grace’s true identity is symbolically the search that all women living in a suppressed environment are involved in. This theme is very true to Atwood’s feminist pursuit, which is seen in her other novels as well. This leads to the ultimate question, as Joyce Hart states, “Who was the Victorian woman? Was she the frail, lesser member of the two sexes? Or was she an equal in stamina and intelligence? Was she the epitome of virtue? Was she violent and capable of vicious crimes? Or, did she encompass all of these traits, and more?” To gain a better idea of Atwood’s feminist attitude, readers must take a deeper look at the novels protagonist, Grace. At the beginning of the novel, Grace describes herself as a woman who follows the rules of her Victorian society. She is a maid, and this is represented symbolically by her “chapped” hands. She bows her head in humility, thus reflecting

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