76 pages 2 hours read

Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1996

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Part V, Chapters 12-16Chapter Summaries & Analyses

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.