The 7 Stages of Grieving

The 7 Stages of Grieving

by

Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The 7 Stages of Grieving can help.

Aunty Grace Character Analysis

Aunty Grace is the Woman’s aunt. Aunty Grace, who moved to England long ago after marrying an Englishman, has not seen her family in years and she is one of the only members of the Woman’s family whose photograph has ended up in the suitcase before her death. This symbolizes that, while Aunty Grace is still alive, she is dead to her family. Aunty Grace’s betrayal in moving away is a pain that the Woman feels palpably. When Aunty Grace comes home for Nana’s funeral, she doesn’t shed a tear during the entire month-long ritual mourning period. On the day she is to return to England, however, Aunty Grace asks the Woman to drive her to the cemetery before taking her to the airport. There, at her mother’s grave, Aunty Grace breaks down in grief and despair, scattering the contents of her suitcase onto the red earth surrounding the fresh grave. Aunty Grace’s story is brief, taking up only one scene of the play—yet the stunning, intense emotion behind her short visit is hugely important to the Woman’s story. Aunty Grace’s grief not only for her mother’s death but also for the life, the people, and the community she herself has left behind and abandoned is intense and overwhelming. Aunty Grace’s grief, like the Woman’s, does not move through the clear, sequential, prescribed stages—instead, it shows up in strange ways and at inopportune moments, consuming everything in its path.

Aunty Grace Quotes in The 7 Stages of Grieving

The The 7 Stages of Grieving quotes below are all either spoken by Aunty Grace or refer to Aunty Grace. 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:
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of The 7 Stages of Grieving published in 2015.
Scene 12: Aunty Grace Quotes

I never saw her cry the whole time she was with us.

Dad said she was stuck-up and wasn’t really family. She married this Englishman after World War II. There was a photo of her on a ship waving with this white fella, his arm around her. For some reason she didn’t stay, which in my family is strange.

Page Number: 286
Explanation and Analysis:

I drive Aunty Grace out to the cemetery on our way to the airport. She doesn't have much luggage, there is plenty of room but no one from the family comes to see her off. I wait in the car while she goes out to the freshly turned soil of Nana’s grave. She is there for such a long time, I think we are going to be late. Finally she returns to the car, opens the back door and removes a suitcase. She opens it and proceeds to throw the contents all over the ground, everything. […] Crying, at last, crying.

Related Characters: The Woman (speaker), Aunty Grace, The Woman’s Grandmother/Nana
Related Symbols: The Suitcase
Page Number: 286-287
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The 7 Stages of Grieving LitChart as a printable PDF.
The 7 Stages of Grieving PDF

Aunty Grace Character Timeline in The 7 Stages of Grieving

The timeline below shows where the character Aunty Grace appears in The 7 Stages of Grieving. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 12: Aunty Grace
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
...opens it up and looks out at the audience. She describes the return of her Aunty Grace for her grandmother’s funeral. The Woman only ever knew Aunty Grace through the pictures of... (full context)
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon
Aunty Grace has lived in London for almost fifty years. No one in the Woman’s family ever... (full context)
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
On the day of Aunty Grace ’s departure, the Woman drives her to the airport. On the way, the Woman stops... (full context)