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Lecture 13

ENGC69 Lecture 13: 8.2 Alias Grace: Susanna Moodie
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Department
English
Course Code
ENGC69H3
Professor
Sonja Nikkila

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8.2 Alias Grace
: Susanna Moodie
Susanna Moodie’s Letters
● Moodiewasworkingoutofamelodramaticcontext(thinkaboutintersectingGothicframeworks)
○ desireforAtwoodtoincludethesemultiplediscoursesinMoodie’swritings
● religiouspunishment:
○ thereisnosuchthingasa‘godless’personinthistimeframe
○ moral,patriarchalframework‘markofCain’
○ diabolicalstorywiththeDevilcausingpeopletodohorriblethingsthattheywouldn’tnormallydo
(possessionstory)
○ senseoftheman’shandbeingstilledbythehandofGod;GraceasthetemptingDevil
● GraceasEveinGenesis:
○ intertextuality=textile=quilts
○ Grace’sguiltmirrorsEve’sguilt
○ GracetemptedMacdermotintohatingHannahandthenintokillingher
○ historicalcharactersareneverreadontheirowntermsthey’rereadthroughourcultural
projections
● Graceinpositionofpower:
○ seenasadevil;powerinhersexualpower
○ threatassociatedwiththedesireofbeautifulwomen;mendesiringheriswhat’sdangerous
● GraceasShakespeare:
○ LadyMacbeththemewithGraceguest/hosttransgression(oldestandmostsacred
relationships)
○ penaltyfortransgressionishellishtorment,whichiswhatGracesuffersdangerousreading
becauseitexplainsinsanityasbeingaproductofsins
● earlierpartofessay:threatofrunawayslaveszenophobiaofracializedothers(AfricanAmericans,
Natives,Irish)
● GracekeepsmakingcommentsaboutHannahsaying“Shethinksshe’sbetterthanus”;Hannahis
pretendingtobeagentlewoman
○ assumptionthatHannahshouldsticktoclasshierarchy;fearoftheservantclassbecoming
mobileandbecominggentlemen/women
○ AtwoodwritesthatworkorconductinAliasGrace
determinesstation(MaryWhitney);Grace
takesfromMaryWhitney,butMoodiesacclaimsthemtobepurelyGrace’sthoughts
○ Moodieusedtoliveonalargepieceofland,buthadtomovetoPeterboroughbecauseof
moneyproblemsandhadtolivesidebysidewithIrishservants
● Moodiewritesthisessaybutthenhandsovertobewrittenbyalawyer
○ howdoesawomanvalidateherrighttospeak?byveiling
herfemaleauthorityandcontrol
○ isthelawyeractuallywritinghersection,orisMoodiealsogoingofffrommemory?whereisthe
source?thereisnone
● whateverAtwoodisdoing,Moodiediditfirst
○ narrationgivesandtakesawayauthoritywhoisconsideredmentallyillwhenthey‘forget’?
○ Moodiesforgetsfactsandtoapointfabricating,andGraceforgetsfacts
buthasacompletely
differentconclusions
○ tryingtofeedtheirfamiliesyetrecognizingtheproblemofgettingmentoreadtheirwork
○ switchesbetweenlawyer’snarrativevs.Macdermot’snarrative


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Description
8.2 Alias Grace: Susanna Moodie Susanna Moodies Letters Moodie was working out of a melodramatic context (think about intersecting Gothic frameworks) desire for Atwood to include these multiple discourses in Moodies writings religious punishment: there is no such thing as a godless person in this timeframe moral, patriarchal framework mark of Cain diabolical story with the Devil causing people to do horrible things that they wouldnt normally do (possession story) sense of the mans hand being stilled by the hand of God Grace as the tempting Devil Grace as Eve in Genesis: intertextuality = textile = quilts Graces guilt mirrors Eves guilt Grace tempted Macdermot into hating Hannah and then into killing her historical characters are never read on their own terms theyre read through our cultural projections Grace in position of power: seen as a devil power in her sexual power threat associated with the desire of beautiful women men desiring her is whats dangerous Grace as Shakespeare: Lady Macbeth theme with Grace guesthost transgression (oldest and most sacred relationships) penalty for transgression is hellish torment, which is what Grace suffers dangerous reading because it explains insanity as being a product of sins earlier part of essay: threat of runaway slaves zenophobia o
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