Monday, 3 September 2007

"Alias Grace" by Margaret Atwood: past exam questions from Edexcel

2002 options

1) Using chapter 13 as a starting point, how far do you agree that in Alias Grace ‘Atwood examines the complex relationships between men and women, and between the affluent and those without social positions’

- Or -

2) Margaret Atwood has said that ‘female bad characters can act as doors we need to open and as mirrors in which we can see more than just a pretty face.’

In the light of this, comment on ‘bad female characters’. What is your response to Atwood’s presentation of Grace Marks? In your answer you should refer in detail to at least two sequences from the text.


2003 options

1) ‘It is difficult to know what to believe’ (Reverend Verringer)

how far do you agree that much of the interest of Alias Grace lies in the many different versions of Grace’s story presented to the reader?

You should include in you answer an examination of the ballad which forms the main part of II Rocky Road (pages 13-18) and at least one other section of the novel.

- Or -

2) ‘Despite their status in a world where men hold the power, many of the male characters in Alias Grace are shown to be flawed.’

In the light of this comment, referring to two or more appropriate extracts, what is you response to Atwood’s presentation of any two of the male characters in their dealings with women?

2004 options

1) ‘Much of the interest in Alias Grace for a twenty –first-century reader derives from the ambiguous presentation of the relationship between Dr. Simon Jordan and Grace Marks: as a professional man, he thinks he is in control; Grace’s first person narrative suggests otherwise.

What is your response to Atwood’s presentation of the relationship between Simon and Grace in the novel as a whole? Include in your answer an examination of chapter five ( pages 41-47, the final part of III, Puss in the corner) and at least one other appropriate passage of your choice.

- Or –

2) In her after word (page 537) Atwood comments that ‘ the combination of sex, violence and the deplorable insubordination of the lower classes was the most attractive’ to the journalists reporting the Kinnear-Montgomery murders in 1843.

As a twenty-first-century reader, what is your response to Atwood’s fictionalized presentation of the Kinnear-Montgomery murders in Alias Grace? You should include an examination of two or more appropriate passages of your choice in your answer.


2005 options


1) Mary Whitney’s story is at least as important as Grace’s own, both in it’s connections with Grace’s story and in it’s own right as an account of the experience of ta nineteenth-century woman.

How far do you agree? Examine Atwood’s presentation of Mary’s story in light of this comment.

Include in your answer an examination of the latter part of chapter twenty, from: ‘Mary had told the truth about winter’ to the end (pages 198-209), and at least one other appropriate passage of your choice.

- Or –

2) ‘For women like Grace the patchwork quilt has a variety of meanings, and for Margaret Atwood it represents a recurrent symbol of the significance of women’s work.’

How far do you agree with this view of Atwood’s varied presentation of women’s skills? You should include in your answer an exploration of two or more appropriate passages of your choice.

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About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.