Construction of Femininity: Finding Grace

Essay by The_VSEAHigh School, 11th gradeA, September 2008

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Alyssa Brugman’s novel Finding Grace which follows the developing relationship between an eighteen year old girl, Rachel, and a disabled woman called Grace. It portrays growing ties between these two characters but more importantly the development of Rachel’s maturity and knowledge throughout the entire novel. Rachel first comes to terms with Grace through a job opportunity offered to her by a man named Alistair.

In the beginning of the novel, the author presents one of the main characters Rachel to the readers as boring, average, sparrow like and quirky. Rachel’s thought about herself at the start expresses how she is now eighteen, an adult, which makes her believe that she knows everything. When relations between Rachel and Grace begin, her immediate thoughts and views of Grace were that it would be “just like babysitting. . .and I wouldn’t have to play with her” (page 34). She believes that Grace is just an empty shell because of the way Grace looked “dead” on the outside.

Rachel doesn’t treat Grace with respect by calling her Grace woman whom Mr Preston knows isn’t what she deserves. As Mr Preston tells Rachel a bit about Grace, she begins to believe that there may be more to her then originally thought. “Who is Grace?” (page 80), this mystery surrounding Grace’s life before the accident enticed Rachel to delve into the history about what happened to Grace and who she used to be.

Further into the novel Brugman changes the current situation between Rachel and Grace by adding to the plot a spookybox belonging to Grace. The spookybox is a box that contains memoirs about a person’s life and for Rachel, resembled a guide about who Grace was before the accident. Every night Rachel read several pieces of paper concerning people Grace knew. It expressed...