Alias Grace

Alias Grace

In addition to Grace, Grace’s mother has eight living children, has given birth to three stillborn infants, and has had one miscarriage. Grace remembers her mother as having “long auburn hair” and “round blue eyes like a doll.” Grace’s mother is a gentle and vulnerable woman, “a timid creature, hesitating and weak and delicate.” Grace says, “I wanted her to be stronger, so I would not have to be so strong myself.” Grace’s mother dies of an undiagnosed stomach problem (likely a tumor) on the family’s sea passage to Canada. Grace is devastated by her mother’s death, and blames herself for not properly caring for her body afterwards (she is unable to open a window for her mother’s soul to fly out of, because her mother dies in the ship’s steerage). Even as an adult woman, Grace is haunted by dreams of her mother.

Grace’s Mother Quotes in Alias Grace

The Alias Grace quotes below are all either spoken by Grace’s Mother or refer to Grace’s Mother. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Alias Grace published in 1997.
Chapter 13 Quotes

When I was quite young, six or seven, I put my hand on my mother’s belly, which was all round and tight, and I said What is in there, another mouth to feed, and my mother smiled sadly and said Yes I fear so, and I had a picture of an enormous mouth, on a head like the flying angel heads on the gravestones, but with teeth and all, eating away at my mother from the inside, and I began to cry because I thought it would kill her.

Related Characters: Grace Marks (speaker), Grace’s Mother
Related Symbols: Mouths
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 51 Quotes

The room was so large it was almost frightening to me, and I pulled the sheet up over my head to make it darker; and then I felt as if my face was dissolving and turning into someone else’s face, and I recalled my poor mother in her shroud, as they were sliding her into the sea, and how I thought that she had already changed inside the sheet, and was a different woman, and now the same thing was happening to me. Of course I wasn’t dying, but it was in a way similar.

Related Characters: Grace Marks (speaker), Grace’s Mother
Page Number: 442-443
Explanation and Analysis:
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Grace’s Mother Character Timeline in Alias Grace

The timeline below shows where the character Grace’s Mother appears in Alias Grace. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...maternal Aunt Pauline (married to Grace’s Uncle Roy) was convinced that her younger sister, Grace’s mother, married below her and advises Grace to “set a high price” on herself when she... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...felt were “too many in number.” (Grace had two older siblings and six younger. Her mother also had three stillborn children and one miscarriage.) Grace’s father refers to his children as... (full context)
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
...Aunt Pauline and Uncle Roy begin supplying Grace’s family with food, and Grace helps her mother with sewing to earn money. Eventually, Uncle Roy pays for Grace’s family to immigrate to... (full context)
Chapter 14
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
Grace and her family go to Belfast to board a ship to Canada. Grace’s mother sees three crows sitting on the mast of the ship, and tells Grace it signals... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...became concentrated, so to speak, on the matter of [which] sheets” to use in her mother’s burial. She finally decides to use the second best sheet the family has, and save... (full context)
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
The final thing Grace tells Dr. Jordan about the sea voyage is that her mother’s teapot, which had been hanging in a basket from the family’s bunk, fell and broke.... (full context)
Chapter 19
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
...were in the same story as the one Aunt Pauline used to tell about my mother.” Grace also remembers a game she and Mary played on Halloween, peeling apples to determine... (full context)
Chapter 23
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...She has very few possessions, but she brings with her an old shawl of her mother’s and a blue flowered handkerchief left to her by Mary Whitney. During the journey, the... (full context)
Chapter 48
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...out of her “sleep.” When Grace awakens, she says she had been dreaming of her mother. DuPont asks Mrs. Quennell to take Grace somewhere she can lie down. As Grace leaves,... (full context)