The book Alias Grace, written by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood, is a recreation of the story of a famous murderess Grace Marks, who was accused of murdering her employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper (and so happened to be mistress) Nancy Montgomery with the help of her accomplice James McDermott. Grace was the childhood sweetheart of the young boy Jamie Walsh, who lived on the Kinnear property. On Grace’s trial, Jamie Walsh had hurt her deeply by cutting all connections from her and gave effective evidence to the judge against her, which had lead to her 30 years of imprisonment. When Grace was finally pardoned, she was found by the regretful Jamie Walsh, now Mr.Walsh, who begged for her forgiving because he believed that he had caused her very sufferings. Whether or not Grace had truly participated in the murders were unknown in records, but Mr. Walsh and Grace were soon married as Grace wrote a letter to Dr.Jordan and her story have come to an end.
He listens to all of that like a child listening to a fairy tale, as if it is something wonderful and then he begs me to tell him yet more…
Now that I come to think of it, you were as eager as Mr.Walsh is to hear about my sufferings and my hardships in life; and not only that, but you would write them down as well. (p. 547-548)
I find this quote interesting because it is a revolutionary idea towards all the content before this chapter. As I read the book I have never doubted the truth of Grace’s story, narrated by herself to Dr. Jordan. But I have caught myself being entertained at her sufferings throughout the book, similar to how Mr.Walsh and Dr. Jordan did. Grace is aware of this as she had kept her audience interested at all times, and even after she was pardoned from the penitentiary she was still required to perform her role. And what is it exactly do we find so interesting from the poor woman’s sufferings? This quote alarmed me; I am no different from the crowd that urged to watch McDermott’s public hanging; I am quite guilty too.