Alias Grace

Alias Grace

Alias Grace Chapter 27 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Grace wakes in the prison and dresses for breakfast, though she must first attend a whipping. At breakfast another inmate pinches Grace in an effort to make her scream, which would likely cause the guards to think Grace was having a fit. The day before, the same inmate called Grace a “doctor’s pet” and “spoiled whore.” Grace says that she has resolved to forgive the inmate, saying, “I do not think she is right in the head.”
Grace’s compassion for the woman who bullies her in prison shows a tender side of her character. It also raises the question of what constitutes (in)sanity—Grace is thought insane by many of the other characters in the novel, yet she herself thinks of her fellow prisoner as being mentally compromised. Furthermore, the fact that Grace responds to this woman’s “madness” with kindness contrasts sharply with the cruelty and sexual abuse Grace suffered at the hands of her doctors during her stay at the mental asylum.
Themes
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Grace is escorted by two guards to the Governor’s house. The guards make horrendous sexual comments to Grace, and one of them gropes her. They also tease her about McDermott’s death by hanging, which Grace thinks is “bad luck […] for the dead don’t like being laughed at.”
The guards’ graphic language shows how Grace is considered nothing more than a sexual prop by the very people who are meant to be protecting her. This parallels the abuse Grace endures at the hands of Dr. Bannerling. Furthermore, Grace’s conviction that the dead don’t like being laughed at shows not only her superstitious side, but also seems to imply that Grace herself has some kind of connection to the dead and can interpret their desires.
Themes
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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At the Governor’s house, Grace spends the morning mending lace. Dr. Jordan arrives, this time without any “item,” such as a vegetable. Dr. Jordan tells Grace he has decided to ask her what she would like him to bring, but in the meantime he would like to know about her dreams. Because Dr. Jordan looks “forlorn,” Grace takes pity on him and shares a dream she had about red flowers. After sharing her dream, Grace tells Dr. Jordan that she’s decided she would like him to bring her a red radish, to which he agrees. As Dr. Jordan leaves, Grace promises to recall her dreams if it will help him with his “trouble”; when he responds in confusion, Grace explains, “those who have been in trouble themselves are alert to it in others.”
Grace again demonstrates her compassion in her treatment of Dr. Jordan. This moment also highlights the power of storytelling; Grace shares her dream with Dr. Jordan as a form of healing and comfort. This passage is also important because Grace’s request for a radish shows an evolution in her relationship with Dr. Jordan; before, she hesitated to even eat an apple in front of him, but now she is comfortable enough to request a specific “gift.” This detail further emphasizes the power that sharing one’s story has to make a person feel connected to her listeners/audience.
Themes
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
After Dr. Jordan leaves, Miss Lydia comes in and tells Grace she has “an admirer” in Dr. DuPont. Grace suspects that this doctor “views [her] as a sight to be seen,” but Lydia explains that he is a serious man who practices neuro-hypnotism. The conversation then turns to Dr. Jordan; Lydia is excited that he will be speaking at her mother’s Tuesday circle, and asks if Grace will sew her a new dress. Grace agrees, but thinks that “there will be trouble ahead; as is always the case, when one loves, and the other does not.”
Grace’s instant skepticism and resentment of Dr. DuPont attests to the mistreatment she has experienced at the hands of physicians who have treated her as a mere object or spectacle. This passage also provides further evidence of Grace’s ability to intuit other characters’ feelings, which contrasts with her younger self, who was less adept at interpreting men and women’s sexual/romantic desires.
Themes
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
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