Alias Grace Chapters 41-44 Summary & Analysis

Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace

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Alias Grace Chapters 41-44 Summary & Analysis

Part XI: Falling Timbers

Chapter 41 Summary

This chapter consists of a letter to Simon from his mother, written in August, 1959. In it she bemoans her failing health, and she asks for Simon to write to her and relieve her anxiety about him.

Chapter 42 Summary

Simon dreams of being in the attic again, outside the maids’ rooms. He is looking for a woman. Then, he sees a woman under a sheet, and he must dissect her. He approaches the table and lifts off the sheet, but there is no woman, only more sheets. At the bottom of the pile of sheets, there is still no woman. He is failing his examination, but he’s also relieved. He will be all right.

He dreams that Grace Marks is standing over his bed. He pulls her into his bed and has sex with her. He realizes that he isn’t dreaming, and it is Mrs. Humphrey in his bed. He has just had sex with Mrs. Humphrey. 

Chapter 43 Summary

Grace announces that Simon has gone away to Toronto, and she imagines what she can say to him about her arrest and trial.

Grace and McDermott are arrested and taken back to Toronto. They are jailed and questioned. Grace tells them what she can remember. She has no lawyer until very near her trial. The newspapers call Grace McDermott’s accomplice and paramour.

At the inquest, Grace doesn’t know what to say, but she can see that everyone assumes she’s guilty. She knows that if she tells the truth, that she was unconscious for many parts of the day, she will not be believed. She cobbles together a story, in which she does not know that Nancy is dead, though she sees Mr. Kinnear’s body. She also tells the court that McDermott shot at her, which is corroborated by the authorities’ finding a ball in the wood by the door.

Both Grace and McDermott are bound over for trial. Grace is tormented by people coming in to stare at her and by the constant ribald sexual jokes of the jailors. She gets a lawyer, Mr. Mackenzie, in October. He tells her to…

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