Alias Grace Essay Topics

Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace

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Alias Grace Essay Topics

1. How does the ending of the novel honor Grace’s journey or contradict it? Is she pregnant, or does she have a cancerous tumor? Why doesn’t she want to know? How does her making of the Tree of Paradise quilt support your view of the ending? Use examples from each stage of Grace’s life to support your answer.

2. The theme of discerning lies from the truth is central to understanding this novel. How important is the “truth” of what happened that day to Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery? How do we know when we have the “truth”? What is Atwood saying about how we construct the truth for ourselves?

3. Trace the character development of Simon Jordan from his arrival in Kingston through the end of the novel. As the character who shows the most change, explain how his character develops through his relationships with people in Kingston, particularly women, including Grace. How does his relationship with Grace change him? Lydia? Mrs. Humphrey?

4. Do you believe that Grace killed Nancy Montgomery? Gather and present evidence from the text proving Grace’s guilt or innocence. How does it matter, or does it matter, that Atwood never gives a clear answer to the question of Grace’s guilt?

5. The color red figures prominently in this novel as a symbol. What different meanings can be attributed to Atwood’s use of the color red, and how does she use that motif to describe a particular theme? For example, the red peonies that grow out of the prison yard are a symbol for blood spatters, but they also underscore the recurring theme of Grace’s guilt. Explain three red symbols and each related theme. If you use the red peonies as one of your three symbols, you must related it to a different theme than the one given in this example for your analysis.

6. Nineteenth-century social classes and their associated behavior codes were extremely rigid. Describe the ways in which Simon Jordan both adheres to and takes advantage of his social code. What price does he pay for…

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