"Grace" begins with a fall down the stairs for our main character Mr.
Kernan. The unconscious and drunken Mr. Kernan is carried up the stairs
and laid out on the bar floor. The manager of the bar repeatedly asks who the
man is and who he was with, but to no avail. A constable is called in to try to
solve the problem, when Mr. Powers enters and solves the mystery and
proceeds to escort Mr. Kernan home.
Upon arriving at the home of his friend, Mr. Powers learns that Mr.
Kernan had been on a drinking binge much to the chagrin of his wife. It is
obvious that she is very upset with her husband and his choice of drinking
acquaintances. Mr. Powers explain that he is not responsible for the
condition of her husband and suggest that he will try to arrange for an
intervention for her husband.
Mrs. Kernan thanks Mr. Powers for bringing
her husband home and for being a true friend.
The story now turns to a reoccurring theme in Joyce's stories, the
unfortunate tale of a woman who thinks that marriage could be the answer to
her problems. We learn that after only three weeks she finds marriage
tedious and then learns that she is pregnant. Unlike Mrs. Mooney in "The
Boarding House", Mrs. Kernan decides that even though her husband is a
drunk he is not so bad because he's not violent anymore and he will fetch
groceries when asked.
Mr. Powers keeps his word to Mrs. Kernan and has arranged for a
morally minded group of friends and associates of Mr. Kernan's to speak
with him. Mr. Cunningham a well respected and educated man, deals with a
wife that is an alcoholic and sympathizes with Mrs. Kernan...