Alias Grace Chapters 12-16 Summary & Analysis

Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace

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Alias Grace Chapters 12-16 Summary & Analysis

Part V: Broken Dishes

Chapter 12 Summary

Grace reports that this is her ninth day talking with Simon. Today he brings a potato and sets it in front of her. She believes that he’s a little “off in the head” (98). She also says that one of the reasons she never answers Simon directly is that it’s bad luck to say out loud what you really want. That is what happened to Mary Whitney. Simon asks her if she has dreams at night, and she tells him she cannot remember, but reveals her dream from the previous night to the reader. She dreams that she is back in Mr. Kinnear’s kitchen, scrubbing the floor, when a peddler comes along. He tries to sell her another woman’s bloody hand.To justify her hiding this dream from Simon, Grace insists that she deserves some privacy, something of her own to keep for herself.

Simon next asks Grace to tell him the story of her life, from the beginning, offering to read from her confession to get her started. She insists that the confession is not true, as it is merely a mixture of what her lawyer told her to say and what the newspaper reporters made up. Simon asks her who Mary Whitney is, which startles Grace. Grace explains that it is the name she gave at the inn in Lewiston. Mary Whitney was Grace’s friend, she explains. Though she is now dead, Grace’s story would be very different without Mary.

Chapter 13 Summary

Grace tells her story: she was born in Northern Ireland to an English father and Irish mother. Her family lived in a two-room house near a small village. Her mother’s sister, aunt Pauline, encouraged Grace to set a high price on herself so that she wouldn’t marry the first man who came along, as Grace’s mother did. Pauline and her husband, Roy, kept a shop in the nearby town and were well-off. The two sisters were a dead Methodist minister’s daughters, which meant that though they were penniless, they were well-educated. Pauline thought that they had both married beneath themselves.

Grace takes after her…

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