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Postmodernism is a movement in the area of arts that challenges the objective to order, unity and purpose in life. Postmodern is also portrayed in literature to distinguish between modern and postmodern culture and one of the best examples of literature that portrays postmodernism is Margaret Atwood's novel; Alias Grace.
In her novel, Margaret Atwood tells the story of Grace Marks for the second time. a story that is based on a real life situation about a woman from Canada who lived in the nineteenth century and had spent thirty of her years in jail after being convicted for the murder of two people. This was one of the most known murders in the mid-1800s since it was well publicized all over and also the accounts of Grace's life. This story had caught her attention after reading the story of a Canadian journalist who had written something about Grace Marks (Margaret, p. 73).
She had been inspired by Susanna Moodie who was a journalist and a poet and some of her poems and stories had been related. She was only sixteen years old when she had been sentenced for a life imprisonment because she had been accused of murdering her employer and the housekeeper Nancy Montgomery and Thomas Kinnear. Nancy and Thomas had been having an affair which Grace did not like and it was said by many people who speculated that she became jealous to the point of murdering both of them even though she was just a servant. After being accused of murder, Marks gave different stories about her involvement in the murder in which she claimed to not having known what had happened during the incident and in another one claiming that she might have been demon-possessed by one of her girlfriends who had died earlier (Reingard, p. 87).
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The book Alias Grace does not really solve the mystery of this girl and that is one of the things that makes the book more interesting since the readers want to find out what might have happened and how the story ended and thus they come up with their own conclusions. The suspense in the book makes it more interesting for the reader making them not to stop reading it and finding more answers to the puzzle. This book became one of the most sold fiction books in the 29th century that won Atwood several awards and making Atwood the best seller of the year (Tamara, p. 91).
The manner in which the book was written captures the attention of many book lovers because Atwood is convincing in her piece of writing because her style of writing and bringing out characters in the book makes it come out as real as it is. The life of Alias Grace started becoming more interesting when she was 24 years old and this is when she was in the prison and was a model and interesting enough the story ended with her having a dream. In the second section of the book, there are a lot of poems written on James McDermott who had been hanged for murder and Grace Marks herself who had just been taken to prison. In the third section of the book, Grace is seen to be working at the governor's home and here she describes the character each member of that family and when she sees a doctor entering the scene, she screams but the reader is not told why and this is another use of the element of suspense that keeps the reader more interested in reading the book (Howells, p.259).
In the third section of the book, Grace is brought a doctor to question her actions but she does not respond as she had agreed earlier with her lawyer and this saves her life one more time. in the fourth section of the book, Jordan come across Reverend whose main aim is to let Grace out of the jail but Jordan suspects that the Reverend could be falling in love with Grace and Jordan still tries to talk to Grace in vain as the chapter closes. The story as a whole ends in suspense where the reader tries to guess what might have happened later on in the scenarios that were not told and this is what captures the attention of the reader making them want to read it over and over again (Burkhard, p 63).
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Postmodern in Alias Grace
Postmodernism can be described as a viewpoint that is away what happens in modernism. The contemporary culture that has been characterized by objective truth's problem and natural suspicion diverted towards global culture in relation to narratives. It is mainly associated with changes that has taken place in the modern world in relation to realities in social constructs and how they change regardless of place and time. According to the novel Alias Grace, most aspects of postmodern can be seen because postmodern emphasizes a lot on the mode of language that is used, how people relate to each other and sharp classifications of people in the society as either male or female.
In postmodernism, the daily activities of people are viewed from the perspective of them being done by a specific gender either male or female or by just putting every single activity in contrast with the other. The manner in which Grace was behaving in the prison was also viewed from a postmodern perspective since she was expected to behave like a woman and she did not. The character of Grace in the book is also viewed from the perspective of either colonial or imperial times through looking at what are expected of each member of the society that is involved here. The confident in Grace when she is defending herself is also one of the aspects of postmodernism that can be noticed in the novel (Margaret, p. 73).
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Alias Grace is also viewed from a postmodernism perspective where some characteristics of authors in post-world war II are seen to be having questionable narrative styles and mainly relies on paradox and how their narration is reacted upon by enlightened ideas in the modern world. The book is postmodern to the extent of putting different cultures into contrast with what is expected of each character and the time in which the activities took place. Atwood also uses powerful authority in narrating the story and this is one of the aspects of postmodernism since it entails looking for meanings of certain things in the modern world while questioning why it should happen and the meaning behind its occurrence (Reingard, p.111).
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Finally, it is not easy to define postmodern in literature but some of the characteristics that are expected in postmodernism could be traced in the novel Alias Grace. Other issues that are associated with culture in the modern world and in postmodern times also brings out the extent in which it has been implored in Atwood's literature.