Amanda Knox: Guilty or not guilty ?

Having read Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood in English last year, I cannot help but think of the many similarities between this book and
the murder of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Italy.

In Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood retells the story of a seemingly innocent 16 year old girl, Grace Marks, who spends thirty years in jail for two murders in nineteenth century Canada. This story created as muchhype and fascination as the murder of Meredith Kercher in the mid-1880s with
Grace’s life and murder trial being scrutinised by journalists. Grace Marks was sentenced to life for the murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Her boyfriend, James McDermott was sentenced to death for the murders. Grace’s role in the murders was never fully specified just as Knox’s role in the Meredith Kercher trial is too.

There were many interpretations of Grace’s motive to kill her employer and colleague – some people believing she was innocent while others
claiming she was insane. Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery were having an affair and it was suggested that Grace was jealous as she also liked Kinnear and resented Nancy’s feelings of superiority. It was also claimed that she could not remember what happened that day and she was possessed by a dead friend of hers, leaving the reader to come up with their own conclusions. This is similar to case of the murdered student, Kercher. In Amanda Knox and boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito’s appeal, both believe they have just been caught up in the horrible murder of their friend. The media paying close attention to Amanda Knox- just as they did to Grace Marks two centuries before.

Both females are portrayed as pretty, innocent girls in theeyes of the media. Grace Marks was a 16 year old Irish immigrant who came to
Canada with her family for a better life. Her father was an abusive drunk andher mother passed away en route to Canada. When she got to Canada she decidedto find work away from her family at noble people’s homes. She was very good at her job and very hardworking – which leads to her getting an appeal when in the penitentiary due to her work with the governor’s wife.  Amanda Knox, now 24 years old was just 20
years old when Kercher was murdered. With her good looks, blonde hair and blueeyes, the media was transfixed by her – How could she murder another human being? She is also very clever -she went to a prestigious university in America before going to Perugia on a foreign language programme where she shared a house with Meredith Kercher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Society seems to play a big part on proving these two young women guilty. In nineteenth century Canada there was most definitely a class
system to which Grace found herself at the bottom. People would cast doubt on everything Grace said if anyone above her in the class system, such as her employers, contradicted what she said, whether it be true or not. Although class isn’t an issue in the Meredith Kercher case, the Italian society plays an important role. Described by many as “Foxy Knoxy”, Amanda Knox’s lifestyle is something which is absolutely repulsive in the eyes of many Italians. Italians are very conservative when it comes to premarital sex which led to them being very shocked when they heard that Knox had had seven sexual partners at the age of twenty. But this seems to be very much hyped by the media who obtained this
information by police who told Knox that she was HIV positive and had to write down all her sexual partners for the police.

I don’t think we will ever find out whether Grace Marks and Amanda Knox are murderesses – only they know themselves. Sex, society and
people’s appearances seem to stamp a guilty verdict on someone. It happened tothese young women just as it happened to Rebecca Leighton, the nurse in the saline poison case. It seems the media love to have a promiscuous young woman as the murderess as it makes a great story. Alias Grace is a great novel which allows you to think about how we perceive things as a society. You just have to feel
sorry for the victim’s family who may never be able to grieve properly for a dearly loved young woman who had a bright future in front of her.

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