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Alias Grace

Margaret Atwood
  • Study Guide
Summary

Part VIII

Summary Part VIII

Summary: Part VIII

Grace reflects on the experiences of her day. She describes for the reader how there had been a beautiful pink sunrise in the morning but then reveals that the window in her cell is too high for her to see through, and she had actually just imagined the beautiful sunrise.

As she changed out of her nightdress, she heard a song in her head that Jamie Walsh used to play. She claims that she remembered the tune wrong, but she also insists that “there was no one to hold me to account, or correct me, just as there was no one to say that the real sunrise was nothing like the one I’d invented for myself.”

Grace also recounts how, during the usual breakfast Bible reading, a fellow inmate pinched her thigh. She was trying to get Grace to scream. The previous day this same inmate had called her a “doctor’s pet” and a “spoiled whore,” and Grace reflects on the ease with which petty jealousies grow in prison.

Later in the day, the two keepers came to escort her to the Governor’s house. They made jokes about slipping into a side alley to have sex with her, and even after Grace rebuffed them, they continued with their aggressive sexual remarks.

During their meeting at the Governor’s house, Dr. Jordan seemed forlorn. She told him she’d had a dream the previous night, and he had perked up. She recounted that she’d dreamt about large red flowers that resembled peonies. However, she confides to the reader, “I did not say that they were made of cloth, nor did I say when I had seen them last; nor did I say that they were not a dream.” Dr. Jordan quickly wrote down what she said, but Grace expresses doubts about his ability to capture the truth of her words, since “like most gentlemen he often wants a thing to mean more than it does.”

After Dr. Jordan left, Lydia came to speak with Grace. She told Grace about her admirer, Dr. Jerome DuPont. Lydia described the man to Grace and explained his interest in “Neuro-hypnotism.” The conversation then turned to Dr. Jordan, and Lydia confessed her desire to have tea with him and hear him talk about asylums. Grace worried that Dr. Jordan would not reciprocate Lydia’s interest, which could lead to trouble.