Alias Grace Chapters 48-49 Summary & Analysis

Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace

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Alias Grace Chapters 48-49 Summary & Analysis

Part XIII: Pandora’s Box

Chapter 48 Summary

The Committee, with specially invited guests, gathers in Mrs. Quennell’s house for Grace’s hypnotism.The audience includes the Governor’s wife, Lydia, and Reverend Verringer. Simon is skeptical but secretly wants to be amazed.

Dr. DuPont leads Grace in and seats her in front of them; they are all seated around a large table. He explains that he’s simply going to put Grace into a neuro-hypnotic sleep. Grace seems terrified, but not of Dr. DuPont. DuPont tells her that when she wakes up she will have no memory of what happens, and Grace seems to fall into a trance.

Simon tells DuPont to ask if Grace ever had “relations” with James McDermott. Grace answers in a voice that doesn’t sounds like her own; she mocks Simon. She says that she didn’t sleep with McDermott, but instead teased him and led him on, along with Mr. Kinnear. She admits that she strangled Nancy with her kerchief. Just as everyone is bemoaning Grace’s guilt, as they all had believed her to be innocent, Grace announces that “she,” the voice speaking, is not Grace. Grace did not know anything about it. She is Mary Whitney. She has been there all along, since her death, sharing Grace’s earthly “clothing” or “fleshly garment” (402-03). Mary, having taken credit for Grace’s crimes, leaves.

Grace wakes up, appearing not to remember what has happened, and reports that she was asleep, dreaming of her mother.

Chapter 49 Summary

The men remain behind to talk things over. DuPont appears to be confused and shaken, saying nothing like this has ever happened to him before during such a session. Reverend Verringer says that 200 years ago what happened would have been called “possession” (405). DuPont explains that there have been several cases of this kind, called “double consciousness,” where a “secondary personality” exists that can be reached during hypnosis (405). Simon adds his knowledge of another case. The three men agree that they have witnessed whatseems to be natural phenomenon.

Simon ponders his various options on the way home. He cannot possibly write a report now about what he has seen. His…

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