Alias Grace

Alias Grace

Mr. Thomas Kinnear Character Analysis

A Scottish-born gentleman living in Richmond Hill, outside Toronto. Mr. Kinnear has a reputation for seducing his servants, and his flirtatious behavior toward Grace, along with the fact that he and Nancy are lovers, affirms the truth of these rumors. It is never clear, however, whether Mr. Kinnear tried to take advantage of Grace. When Dr. Simon Jordan questions Grace about this, she says Mr. Kinnear took the “usual” liberties a master takes with his servant, and that he was “a kind enough master […] and liberal when he wished to be.” Though he is not depicted in the damning way that Dr. Bannerling is, Mr. Kinnear does come across as creepy—and even vaguely misogynistic—in his treatment of Grace. James McDermott and (to an ambiguous extent) Grace conspire to murder Mr. Kinnear, and they shoot him at his house before attempting to flee to the United States.

Mr. Thomas Kinnear Quotes in Alias Grace

The Alias Grace quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Thomas Kinnear or refer to Mr. Thomas Kinnear. 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 39 Quotes

I was horrified, and asked how could he do such a thing; and he said what did I mean, as I was wearing Nancy’s dress and bonnet myself. And I said it was not the same thing, and he said it was; and I said at least I had not taken the boots off a corpse.

Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 338
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 48 Quotes

“You killed her,” breathes Lydia. “I always thought so.” She sounds, if anything, admiring.

“The kerchief killed her. Hands held it,” says the voice. “She had to die. The wages of sin is death. And this time the gentleman died as well, for once. Share and share alike!”

Related Characters: Grace Marks (speaker), Mary Whitney (speaker), Miss Lydia (speaker), Dr. Simon Jordan, Mr. Thomas Kinnear, Nancy Montgomery
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 401
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 53 Quotes

But three of the triangles in my Tree will be different. One will be white, from the petticoat I still have that was Mary Whitney’s; one will be faded yellowish, from the prison nightdress I begged as a keepsake when I left there. And the third will be a pale cotton, a pink and white floral, cut from the dress of Nancy’s that she had on the first day I was at Mr. Kinnear’s, and that I wore on the ferry to Lewiston, when I was running away.

I will embroider around each one of them with red feather-stitching, to blend them in as a part of the pattern.

And so we will all be together.

Related Characters: Grace Marks (speaker), Mary Whitney, Mr. Thomas Kinnear, Nancy Montgomery
Related Symbols: Quilts
Page Number: 460
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Thomas Kinnear Character Timeline in Alias Grace

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Thomas Kinnear appears in Alias Grace. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...story of the Kinnear and Montgomery murders. The poem reads, “Now Grace, she loved good Thomas Kinnear , / McDermott he loved Grace, / And ’twas these loves as I do tell... (full context)
Chapter 12
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...(He is trying to prompt her to think of a cellar, since that is where Thomas Kinnear ’s and Nancy Montgomery’s bodies were discovered.) He switches tactics and asks Grace about her... (full context)
Chapter 22
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...childhood friend of Mr. Watson’s cook. Nancy tells Grace that she is housekeeper for a Mr. Thomas Kinnear , who lives in Richmond Hill, outside of Toronto. Nancy says she is in need... (full context)
Chapter 23
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
...coach tries to assault her. Jeremiah the peddler shows up and defends Grace. Soon thereafter, Mr. Kinnear arrives to fetch Grace. Dr. Jordan interrupts to ask Grace what Mr. Kinnear looked like,... (full context)
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Mr. Kinnear drives Grace to his home in his wagon. When they arrive, Grace hears chopping from... (full context)
Chapter 24
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
...the tour, Nancy explains that Jamie Walsh is a neighborhood boy who runs errands for Mr. Kinnear . She also shows Grace the bedrooms in the houses, and Grace finds herself “wonder[ing]... (full context)
Chapter 25
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Grace rises at dawn her first morning at Mr. Kinnear ’s house. She uses the privy, and prepares the breakfast things in the kitchen. She... (full context)
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
...comes down to the kitchen while Grace is making tea. When Grace prepares to take Mr. Kinnear ’s tea upstairs, Nancy insists that she will take it. Grace, surprised, retorts that it... (full context)
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...that day Grace and Nancy have their “first falling out” while Grace is “doing up Mr. Kinnear ’s room.” Grace explains to Dr. Jordan that it is difficult for “a woman who... (full context)
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Mr. Kinnear then tells the women he noticed a shirt of his was missing a button, and... (full context)
Chapter 26
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...tell what she wanted from one hour to the next.” On her second day at Mr. Kinnear ’s house Grace does the wash, spending considerable effort on getting snuff, ink, and grass... (full context)
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
While Nancy takes her meal in the dining room with Mr. Kinnear , Grace has to “make do with McDermott.” She “set[s] to work to draw him... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...on with her work, and while she is outside churning butter and doing some mending, Mr. Kinnear passes by and makes some flirtatious comments. Nancy later comes out and tells Grace that... (full context)
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Nancy helps Grace with the butter and they discuss Mr. Kinnear ’s tense relationship with his half brother, who still lives in their native Scotland. While... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...Nancy asks Grace to sleep with her because she is afraid of sleeping alone when Mr. Kinnear is not at home. Grace asks if Nancy is afraid of McDermott, and Nancy replies... (full context)
Chapter 28
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Grace picks up with the night she and Nancy went to bed together because Mr. Kinnear was on business in Toronto. She says that as Nancy was turning off the light... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Mr. Kinnear ’s friends arrive for dinner, and Nancy has Grace wait table. Mr. Kinnear’s friends crudely... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...with such a parcel of whores.” Shocked, Grace asks for clarification. McDermott tells Grace that Mr. Kinnear and Nancy are sleeping together and that they “[live] in secret as man and wife.”... (full context)
Chapter 29
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...in McDermott’s confession, he stated that it was Grace who wanted to murder Nancy and Mr. Kinnear , by poisoning their food. Grace replies, “Just because a thing has been written down,... (full context)
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...have her afternoon free; Grace suspects this is because Nancy wants to be alone with Mr. Kinnear for the day. As Grace is leaving to go on an afternoon walk, McDermott insists... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...the two then make daisy chains together. When she returns to the house, Grace finds Mr. Kinnear on the verandah; he asks whom Grace was with in the orchard. Later, McDermott also... (full context)
Chapter 30
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Several days pass; Grace has been at Mr. Kinnear ’s for almost a fortnight. Mr. Kinnear and Nancy are both away from home, and... (full context)
Chapter 31
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
...Grace suspects the doctor must have been summoned on Nancy’s behalf. The doctor meets with Mr. Kinnear , but Grace spies Nancy speaking to the doctor in the driveway as he is... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Mr. Kinnear calls for Nancy, who is still outside with the doctor. Grace answers and says Nancy... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
...walk on her clean floor in his dirty boots. When she turns around, she finds Mr. Kinnear smirking at her, and she hurriedly tugs down her skirts, thinking “Why couldn’t he have... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
That night, Nancy and Mr. Kinnear dine together, while Grace eats in the kitchen with McDermott, wondering what Mr. Kinnear will... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
...is going to bed, but instead she listens at the parlor door, wanting to overhear Mr. Kinnear reading The Lady of the Lake (a book Grace used to read with Mary Whitney)... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...arms come around her from behind. She thinks it might be Jeremiah, or McDermott, or Mr. Kinnear , but then she realizes, it is “another man, someone I knew well and had... (full context)
Chapter 33
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...day the murders took place. She contemplates all the things she thinks she remembers, including Mr. Kinnear possibly telling her, “I pay good wages but I want good service in return” and... (full context)
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
Grace tries to remember what Mr. Kinnear looked like so she can tell Dr. Jordan about it, but she realizes that “nobody... (full context)
Chapter 35
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...what Grace can remember of that day. Simon “plunges in,” asking Grace to confirm that Mr. Kinnear left for town on a Thursday. Grace assents, saying that when Mr. Kinnear left he... (full context)
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
That night, at Nancy’s suggestion, Grace and Nancy went to bed in Mr. Kinnear ’s room. According to Grace, Nancy insisted that “Mr. Kinnear would not find it out,... (full context)
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...two dreams. In the first dream she was visited by Mary Whitney, who appeared at Mr. Kinnear ’s bedside holding a firefly in a jar. The firefly escaped, and Grace realized it... (full context)
Chapter 36
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...thinking, I must open the window; but that was foolish, as I was already outside.” Mr. Kinnear arrived home then and went inside. McDermott cornered Grace and extracted a promise from her... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Grace went into the kitchen to carry on her daily duties, and when Mr. Kinnear came in to ask after Nancy, Grace told him “she had gone to town in... (full context)
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
At seven in the evening, Mr. Kinnear came downstairs for dinner and was very worried about Nancy. McDermott asked Grace to call... (full context)
Chapter 38
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...go to “some other bed,” as her bed is very narrow, McDermott carries her to Mr. Kinnear ’s room. Grace almost faints from fright when McDermott begins undressing her, but she recalls... (full context)
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...lying in the bed is also covered in blood. McDermott says the book is something Mr. Kinnear was reading when he was shot. McDermott threw the book into Nancy’s bed “because Kinnear’s... (full context)
Chapter 39
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...States. As the sun comes up, Grace is horrified to realize that McDermott is wearing Mr. Kinnear ’s boots. She asks him about it and he says that he is also wearing... (full context)
Chapter 40
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
...at the Lewiston inn. She dreamt that she was walking along the driveway leading to Mr. Kinnear ’s house, knowing that Mary Whitney was waiting there to welcome her. In the dream,... (full context)
Chapter 43
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...McDermott. As the two are transported back across Lake Ontario to Canada, McDermott insists that Mr. Kinnear was most likely killed by a “suspicious-looking man” (Jeremiah) who had been “hanging around” the... (full context)
Chapter 47
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Female Sexuality and the Nature of Women Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
The day after his meeting with Mr. MacKenzie, Simon sets off to visit Mr. Kinnear ’s former house in Richmond Hill. A housekeeper shows him around the house, and the... (full context)
Chapter 53
Social Class and Propriety Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...when not yet sixteen years of age, [she] first went up the long driveway to Mr. Kinnear ’s.” She is sitting on her “own verandah in [her] own rocking chair,” looking at... (full context)
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...Grace says she thinks often of Mary; sometimes Grace even dreams she is back at Mr. Kinnear ’s house, or in the penitentiary. Sitting on her verandah, she pinches herself—“but it remains... (full context)
Storytelling and Power Theme Icon
Truth, Memory, and Madness Theme Icon
Gender, Ownership, and Power Theme Icon
Justice and Religion Theme Icon
...the pink and white floral dress that Nancy wore on the day Grace arrived at Mr. Kinnear ’s and that Grace wore when she escaped on the ferry to Lewiston. The final... (full context)