Alias Grace Chapter 46 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Alias Grace

Alias Grace

Alias Grace Chapter 46 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Grace wonders when Dr. Jordan will return from Toronto. She knows he must be investigating whether she is guilty, but she thinks: “He won’t find it out that way. He doesn’t understand yet that guilt comes to you not from the things you’ve done, but from the things that others have done to you.”
Again, Grace’s unique understanding of justice is complex and unconventional. Though Grace refuses to elaborate, it seems likely that her somewhat confusing philosophy springs from the fact that she has been subjected to sexual abuse from an extremely young age.
Themes
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
Earlier in the day, Grace had bathed along with her fellow prisoners. The same woman who earlier teased Grace about Dr. Jordan again asked if Grace was in love with the doctor, to which she replied, “I’ve never been in love with any man and I don’t plan to start now.” Later, she was sent to the Governor’s house, where she worked alongside the laundress, Clarrie, and Dora. Clarrie commented that the only reason God must have put rich people on earth was “to dirty up the laundry.” Dora agrees, saying, “They dirty it up as fast as I can get it clean, and the both of them are in the dirtying of it together if the truth was to come out.” Grace felt a “chill” come over her and did not ask Dora to elaborate, as she “didn’t want her saying anything bad about Dr. Jordan.”
Grace’s assertion that she has never been in love with a man and never will could be interpreted as evidence that she is gay or asexual. This passage is also important because it shows that Grace has become fond enough of Dr. Jordan that she is having difficulty hearing any story about him that might change her opinion of him. This suggests that Grace’s ability to reconcile or at least tolerate conflicting ideas does not extend to her opinion of Dr. Jordan, likely because she so desperately wants to see him as a good man, and even as a friend.
Themes
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Grace says that she is to be hypnotized by Jeremiah (Dr. DuPont) when Dr. Jordan returns. The Governor’s wife has explained the hypnosis process to her, but Grace still feels “not at all sure [she] want[s] to have [her memory] back.”
The fact that Grace is afraid of her own memory suggests that she does not believe in her own innocence. Rather, it seems that the countless traumas she has experienced might make her reluctant to expose herself to more repressed trauma.
Themes
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Grace is now spending the evening doing some knitting, busying herself with thinking about what she would put in her keepsake album, if she had one. She considers the following items: “A piece of coarse cotton, from my Penitentiary nightdress. A square of blood-stained petticoat. A strip of kerchief, white with blue flowers. Love-in-a-mist.”
Grace’s imagined keepsake album almost exactly mirrors the quilt she ends up making after she’s released from prison. Because Mary’s handkerchief is gone, having served as evidence in Grace’s trial, Grace includes a petticoat of Mary’s in the quilt. Grace’s desire to preserve even the most unpleasant memories of her life highlights her commitment to telling a true story, which she earlier expressed to Dr. Jordan. This passage is also important because it is unclear whether the blood-stained petticoat Grace imagines would be the bloody nightdress Mary died in or the outfit in which Nancy was murdered. This detail thus serves to explicitly link Nancy and Mary, showing how important both women are to Grace’s life.
Themes
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
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