The publication tells the distinguished 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and also his housekeeper along with a follower, Nancy Montgomery, in western Canada. Two residence servants, Grace Marks along with James McDermott were incarcerated for the criminal offense. McDermott was hanged along with Marks, the lead character of this story, was penalized to live behind bars.
Although the tale is based upon these events, Atwood constructs a story with an imaginary medical professional, Simon Jordan, that is checking out the circumstances. First, he desires criminal practices, nevertheless progressively he is associated with a story with Grace Marks along with consequently it will definitely be picked if she is a femme fatale, established guilty of murder; or a woman of good manners, a patient of problems.
Race Marks, the established guilty awesome, has in fact been utilized as a housemaid in the prison guv's house. The board of gents along with women of the Methodist (Protestant) Church, led by the clergyman, is enthusiastic that it will certainly be forgiven along with introduced. Grace does not remember the day of the murder, due to the fact that she discloses signs of hysteria, along with this, is why the clergyman deals with the psychoanalyst Simon Jordan, to interview her and also develop if she in fact struggles with hysteria or is just a cold-blooded awesome.
Dr. Jordan attempts to acquire Grace to mention her wishes along with memories, along with after a rejection from him, she starts to inform him regarding her life. Grace honestly tells information regarding her youth in Ireland, such as her mom's fatality or her papa's dependency to alcohol consumption, along with her ongoing misuse, and also also a tried rape on her component. Dr. Jordan pays attention to Grace very carefully, although that he understands that all these tales are of little aid to assist her be cost-free.
Grace remains to associate her life to the medical professional: when she began functioning as a house cleaning, in addition to Mary Whitney, her roomie, and also just close friend, that instructed her every little thing she understands. However, it is not up until Grace starts to explain James McDermott and also the journey that Thomas Kinnear and also Nancy Montgomery had when Simon Jordan actually takes a rate of interest in the tale. But, after not getting to any type of appropriate final thought, and also incapable to prevent the Spirituality Committee better, Dr. Jordan provides the function to Dr. DuPont, that works out neuro-hypnosis in the girl, and also it goes to this time around that Mary Whitney takes he manages Grace's body and also admits that she had Grace's body on the day of the murders.
After these weird occasions happened, Dr. Jordan finishes his record declaring that Grace experienced a double character condition, and after that left the Canadian community and also signed up with the Union Army. Finally, Grace Marks takes care of to be forgiven and also launched, and also after transforming her name she transfers to the United States and also starts a brand-new life.
During the unique, as in the real world, it is never ever clear whether Grace Marks was in fact a device to the murders or otherwise.
- Grace Marks, the popular awesome, that is ultimately forgiven. Grace preserves a considerate position, being much less smart and also watchful than she really is, and also above all grateful for the minister's attempt to secure her release. He is an unreliable narrator since he maintains that he does not remember anything from the day of the murders when she herself is a very insightful and also attentive person.
- Thomas Kinnear, a Scottish farmer of good birth, who is murdered at his home in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
- Nancy Montgomery, the housekeeper, and also lover of Thomas Kinnear killed alongside him.
- James McDermott, Kinnear employee, in charge of house maintenance. Sentenced to fatality for the murder of Kinnear as well as Montgomery, he is described as a person of strong character, a rebellious Irishman, resentful of the English.
- Simon Jordan, a character invented by the author, and also educated as well as a worldly young psychiatrist who intends to base his career on mental health.
- Mary Whitney, the protagonist's best friend. Mary believes in herself and also in Canada as a place where functioning women can make their way.
- Jeremiah Pontelli, Dr. Jerome Du Pont, is a hypnotherapist that met Grace when she was a servant in Richmond Hill.
Grace Marks was born in 1826 in Ireland, along with lived near Toronto from the age of twelve to sixteen when the famous murder took place. He was in the Kingston, Ontario jail for fifteen years (till 1859) just as the novel starts.
The study of mental health, called “alienism,” was under development at the time. It was first studied in Europe along with argued that some inmates should be treated as patients rather than prisoners. Although the Victorian Era was a time of scientific progress, many people were interested in the paranormal along with the occult, along with this is why spiritualism or hypnotherapy was deemed authentic study strategies.
Atwood picked Richmond Hill, Ontario as the location of the Kinnear ranch in Upper Canada.