27 ‘Alias Grace’ Quotes to Give You the Power of a Celebrated Murderess

Following the success of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, the words of Margaret Atwood have once again been adapted for TV. Most recently, it was through Alias Grace, Atwood's 1996 novel that is now a Canadian-American miniseries. Alias Grace, the six-episode series that premiered on CBC in September and appeared on Netflix on November 3, is both different and similar from Atwood's more famous novel and adaptation. Based on the notorious true story, actress Sarah Gadon is Grace Marks, a "celebrated murderess," accused of killing Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in northern Canada.

Unlike Handmaid's Tale, this is the past and there is no sci-fi, postapocalyptic nature to the tale. But both stories share a common antagonist: the patriarchy. And more than that, both share the eloquence and fluidity of the mind of Margaret Atwood. Here are some of the loveliest and most poignant quotes from the series, as spoken by the observant Grace Marks. 

11-6-alias-grace-02 Sarah Gadon as Grace Marks, a servant accused of murdering Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in 1843. Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

"I'd rather be a murderess than a murderer, if those are the only choices."

—Season 1, Episode 1, "Part 1"

"There are many dangerous things that may take place in a bed. It's where we are born, our first peril in life. It's where women give birth, which is often their last. And it's where the act takes place between men and women, sir. Some call it love, others despair, or merely an indignity they must suffer through."

—Season 1, Episode 1, "Part 1"

"I thought, he wishes to go home and say to himself, 'I stuck in my thumb and pulled out a plum, what a good boy am I.' But I will not be anybody's plum."

—Season 1, Episode 1, "Part 1"

"Those who have been in trouble themselves are alert to it in others."

—Season 1, Episode 2, "Part 2"

"You want to go where I can never go, see what I can never see inside me. You want to open up my body and peer inside. In your hand, you want to hold my beating female heart."

—Season 1, Episode 2, "Part 2"

11-6-alias-grace-03 Actor Edward Holcroft plays the doctor Simon Jordan, a character Atwood invented, who researches the case of Grace Marks. Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

"Once you are found with a man in your room, you are the guilty one, no matter how they get it."

—Season 1, Episode 3, "Part 3"

"I liked being early to rise. That way, I could pretend for a little while that the house was all my own."

—Season 1, Episode 3, "Part 3"

"Men such as yourself do not have to clean up the messes you make, but we have to clean up our own messes and yours into the bargain. In that way, you are like children. You do not have to think ahead or worry about the consequences of what you do. But it is not your fault. It is only how you are brought up."

—Season 1, Episode 3, "Part 3"

"Lady or lady's maid, they both piss and it smells the same, and not like lilacs neither."

—Season 1, Episode 3, "Part 3"

"Just because you pestered me to know everything was no reason for me to tell you."

—Season 1, Episode 3, "Part 3"

"Sometimes when I have seen the pure white clouds billowing in the sky after a rain, I used to think the angels themselves were hanging out their washing."

—Season 1, Episode 3, "Part 3"

11-6-alias-grace-04 Rebecca Liddiard, left, plays Grace's friend Mary Whitney. Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

"It's bad luck to laugh at the dead. The dead don't like that."

—Season 1, Episode 4, "Part 4"

"If you could not get divine grace by praying for it, or any other or way, or ever know if you had it or not, you might as well forget about the whole matter and go about your business. Because whether you were damned or saved was no concern of yours."

—Season 1, Episode 4, "Part 4"

"There's no use crying over spilt milk if you don't know whether it was spilt or not."

—Season 1, Episode 4, "Part 4"

"They believe they need only be bothered by Him on Sundays, when they have their best clothes on and their faces straight, and their hands washed and their gloves on and their stories all prepared. But God is everywhere and cannot be caged as men can."

—Season 1, Episode 4, "Part 4"

"Just because it is written does not mean it is true."

—Season 1, Episode 4, "Part 4"

"When people are afraid, they often behave with cruelty."

—Season 1, Episode 5, "Part 5"

"Today I must go on with the story, or the story must go on with me. Carrying me inside it, along the track it must travel, straight to the end, weeping like a train, and deaf and single-eyed and locked tight shut, although I hurl myself against the walls of it, and scream and cry, and beg God himself to let me out."

—Season 1, Episode 5, "Part 5"

AG_EP02_D02-00071 Anna Paquin, center, and Paul Gross, right, as Nancy Montgomery and Thomas Kinnear, the victims of the 1843 murder. Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

"If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged."

—Season 1, Episode 5, "Part 5"

"There is nothing I can do about what other people say."

—Season 1, Episode 5, "Part 5"

"I thought the sky was only a thin surface, like paper, being singed away. It was not Heaven or Hell that I was looking at, but only emptiness."

—Season 1, Episode 5, "Part 5"

"You should think of some new words to use. Because I'm heartily tired of those."

—Season 1, Episode 5, "Part 5"

"I would like to see. Or be seen. I wonder if in the eye of God, it amounts to the same thing."

—Season 1, Episode 6, "Part 6"

11-6-alias-grace-05 In the end, Grace Marks is pardoned from her accused crime. Jan Thijs/Netflix

"It was strange to realize that I would not be a celebrated murderess anymore, but an object of pity rather than horror and fear. It took me some days to get used the idea. It calls for a different arrangement of the face."

—Season 1, Episode 6, "Part 6"

"He likes to picture the sufferings I've endured. He listens to all of it, like a child listening to a fairy tale."

—Season 1, Episode 6, "Part 6"

"Without a snake or two, the main part of a story would be missing."

—Season 1, Episode 6, "Part 6"

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