Imagine, if you will, that you are a woman and your position in life is already compromised. Your body indicated for servitude both for vocation and male sexual desire. Your voice is silent before you speak. If you dare speak you are hysterical, or worse a whore not worth given credence. Your mind is easily susceptible to bad spirits and incomprehensible thoughts simply because you are born of a sex religiously deemed devious.
That is Grace Marks, a woman determined so by natural devices, at the age of 15 or 16 years old. An Irish immigrant already expected poverty. Already, so early she is to be told by society what her body is good and useful for and that is servitude.
Every order given to her is expected of utmost obedience. Every action by her own is acted as innocence.
If she ever denies any order she is suddenly ‘filthy’, a ‘whore’, or ‘untrustworthy’.
What stood out to me in this miniseries is the ‘doctor of the mind’. A psychiatrist named Simon, given permission to have sessions with Grace in order to stir her memory of the events again. Then again, what memories are there to stir if the events of murder were never seen or properly recollected? Regardless he was curious, always on the edge, sleepless even to know more about Grace and her story. Simon had supposed that Grace was either somewhere along the lines of insanity or a woman who had found a means to break away from the suppression of her body.
She had become clever, he thought even. To express what one may think is rage against what was done to her and any other woman; or to express her anger of suppression. Suppression- that is to clean and to care at so young of an age. Suppression- that also means to give her body to any man’s will with a command for her consent. She had then created an audience with her hysterics. An audience composed of wealthy gossipers and then potential romantic partners, including Simon. He then supposed that that was her intention, even one that cost nearly her life.
It’s definitely a curious subject here. If you were a woman of that time period-and had to witness what that meant exactly, would you become a fiend to speak on it?