The Role Of Quilting In Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace

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Margaret Atwood purposely shrouded her novel Alias Grace in mystery in pursuance of leaving Grace’s obscurity genuine. Even the title itself evokes a sense of suppressed truth, an alias is used to refer to a named person who is best known as something else and is generally wielded by criminals trying to escape retribution. Although Grace is her true name, she speaks with a sly tongue leaving her “truths” ambiguous. Grace however, leaves the reader clues to better understand what she is going through within her stitching. Grace’s quilting shapes the story by divulging her inner feelings and personal journey that brought her to the position she presently faces.
Quilting is a form of artistic expression Grace uses in order to fabricate a time line or series of events for herself and so that she can reassure herself of her sanity. As the novel progresses the chapters themselves have increasing similarities to that of a quilt. They are sort of choppy and meshed together using pieces that don’t necessarily fit together perfectly. This structure symbolizes Grace’s memories. She claims she cannot remember past events, yet confesses to crimes under hypnosis while using her friend's name. Not everything she says or has done makes complete sense on its own, but when woven together creates an intricate story. Through utilizing the patches of
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By her including the Tree of Paradise in one her quilts one can determine that she longs to become her purest self. Every piece of the Tree of Paradise has medicinal properties and is often used to symbolize a desire for purity, health, and happiness. Grace has constantly been manipulated by societal pressures and assumptions which has forced her down an unfavorable path. However she still holds out hope for a brighter future or a bright self-image that is apparent through the insertion of the Tree of Paradise in her
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