Individual Freedom in Margaret Atwood’s ‘Alias Grace’

Alias GraceISP Essay ISP Essay

All persons in democratic societies are born into unalienable rights and freedoms. These freedoms are privileges bestowed upon citizens by authorities and society. However, as many things in life, these autonomies come with a monetary value. Although strictly conceptual, these “prices” are steep and impact all citizens in a cardinal manner. This is illustrated inAlias Graceby Margaret Atwood. Grace Marks is a murderess whose actions receive mass attending. However because of these actions, she loses many civil autonomies. Before, during, and after the test Grace encounters legion persons that besides go against social norms, although with changing badness, and similarly lose their autonomies. Atwood’s novel clearly depicts how persons that go against societal criterions are robbed of their personal freedoms. These freedoms operate on physical, mental, and societal degrees ; nevertheless, they affect persons in an every bit important mode.

To get down with, characters such as Mary Whitney lose physical freedoms as a consequence of incompliance to social functions. Mary Whitney is Grace’s merely best friend. She is characterized as non-religious, vocal, and sexually liberated- a perfect foil for Grace. She expresses her physical freedoms in many ways, from cursing abundantly to sexual interactions, nevertheless in this manner embraces an irregular attitude for a adult female. Mary farther understands that “men are liars by nature, and would state anything to acquire what they wanted” , and reacts consequently by declining to be subjected to social gender functions ( Atwood, 191 ) . As a consequence, a adult male of higher caste impregnates her. This is a direct misdemeanor of non merely the societal hierarchy, but besides of spiritual authorizations. Mary loses all of her bodily freedoms, which are highly of import to her function as a amah, “overcome by a violent sickness” about as a Godhead, open recoil upon the organic structure of which she had dirtied with wickedness ( 200 ) . She besides loses her freedom of look, “not laugh [ ing ] and [ holding ] merriment as before” , but instead “oppressed by the load of her secret [ misdemeanor of social codifications ] ” ( 200, 201 ) . At the flood tide of her status, she ends up “dead in bed, with her eyes broad unfastened and staring” ( 204 ) . Mary truly loses all physical freedoms as a consequence of neglecting to uphold norms.

Furthermore, a persons that rebel against Orthodox social criterions lose their mental freedoms. Grace is the prototype of illustrations in depicting this impression. When she murders Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, the ensuing shame destroys her mental capablenesss. She loses her psychological freedom due to guilt, and is unable to populate a life offprint from her yesteryear, as “the contamination of insanity is in [ her ] blood, and can non be removed with…soap” ( 79 ) . Grace has perfect spiritual attachment and esthesia, purged by a “manifestation of carnal life” in a slaying that she herself can non consciously make sense of and must psychologically quash ( 161 ) . She is captive within her head. In fact, Grace is mentally tormented to the extent that “Death…with his weaponries wrapped around [ her ] … and his lipless oral cavity snoging [ her ] cervix as if in love” becomes an object of desire and pining ( 334 ) . Grace longs for the earthly release that decease provides, for merely so can she genuinely be free from the memories that bind her. Dr. Jordan besides gives in to lubricious urges, for “the flesh is weak” , and he fails to keep the nonsubjective subject that first characterized him ( 134 ) . His dreams become progressively sexual and violent, portraying his subconscious autumn into a sadomasochist province of head. Dr. Jordan begins visualizing “long fragrant hair of an unobserved woman…twining around his neck” uncontrollably, yet he believes “the esthesis is painful and about unbearably erotic” ( 227 ) . These desires become progressively evident in his consciousness, and finally he rapes Mrs. Humphrey, a married landlady, at the zenith of these urges. His iniquitous actions lead to insanity, as he has punctured the “thin veneer of willed self-restraint” which separates “a civilised adult male and a brutal fiend” ( 161 ) . This misdemeanor is so powerful that he is unable to carry through his aims, and must externally recover his subject by fall ining the ground forces. Both Grace and Dr. Jordan lose their mental freedoms due to breaches of social codifications.

Finally, Grace loses societal freedoms after being unable to uphold social norms. After Grace violates ethical criterions she is no longer regarded as a human, but instead “a hog to be salted down” and “cut into pieces” ( 29 ) . She loses her civilisation, therefore society objectifies her into an animate being associated with crud and wickedness. Others begin to “view [ her ] as a sight to be seen” , non heard, as her “word is non sufficient evidence” of her artlessness or her civilisation ( 288, 281 ) . Because Grace is longer regarded as a human, all existences associated with her verbally, physically, psychologically, and sexually mistreat her in a ill show of rule and disgust. A clear illustration of this is evidenced on her day-to-day walk from the prison to Dr. Jordan. Her two supervisors ( her alleged defenders ) take advantage of Grace’s inability to get away by invariably teasing her with menaces of colza “up a side back street, into a back stalls, down on the hay” ( 282 ) . They even “took to work and nudging ( her haunch ) with the one manus that was hidden by the creases of [ her ] gown” and psychologically abused her by unearthing painful memories of the slaying ( 284 ) . All the piece, Grace is unable to make anything, as she is socially prohibited- restricted with intangible labels bearing the words: “murderess” , “woman” , “sinner” , and “pig” , all of which are looked down upon and subjected to prejudiced judgement. Her societal wickednesss bind her. Further, all of Grace’s relationships are destroyed ; her household splits apart, Mary Whitney dies, and Dr. Jordan leaves her. Grace becomes perfectly stray, as all societal mercantile establishments are eradicated and she is farther placed into physical isolation within a prison cell. She besides becomes capable to the societal hierarchy and is unable to get away her function as a amah, as “if the rich want a thing, all they have to make is pay for it. It’s all one to them” whether the “thing” in inquiry is human or non ( 239 ) . Grace undeniably loses all societal freedoms as a consequence of her failure to uphold societal regulations.

In decision, personal freedoms are taken from those that fail to continue social outlooks. These freedoms are eradicated on physical, mental, and societal beds as evidenced inAlias Graceby Margaret Atwood. The really title “Alias Grace” is an indicant of the de-humanization Grace undergoes as a consequence of her actions. She is non named, a simple freedom, but instead labelled like the really swine that she was objectified as. This book stands as a mirror which reflects the deficiency of forgiveness, overpowered by rigidness, within society. The very manner persons tear apart those accused of offenses, turning a unsighted oculus against possibilities of artlessness, shows an built-in darkness within humanity. This darkness can non be washed with soap- if lone it were every bit simple as that. It comes from within, and must be actively purged as such.

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