After spending two weeks in a monastic society, complete with monks, chanting and music, music, music, I thought I might be better able to comprehend the notion of grace. I thought wrong, of course, because I’m realizing there is so much more to it. I’m researching for an essay on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and I’m contemplating how the notion of grace, as defined by the lyrics–Atwood’s version of “Amazing Grace”– pertain to the novel.

The first research I conducted was to find out that the song was written by a slave trader named John Newton. Ah, Wikipedia. How did one exist without it?

Grace is broken down into two parts: actual grace and sanctifying grace. (There is a lot of reading here).

Atwood has messed with the lyrics of the song to portray Offred’s notion of oppression, and in a way, her idea of grace–I’m also thinking about sound/communication as a kind of grace, and grace as freedom–as Offred is said to have dictated the entire story onto tapes that were found later:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
Could save a wretch like me
Who once was lost, but now am found,
Was bound, but now am free.

and it should be:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

My idea is to put this all together somehow, someway, gracefully.