There are many symbols in Alias Grace. One such symbol occurs relatively early on in the book, and that is the scrapbook that the governer's wife owns. “What it has instead is all the famous criminals in it, the ones that have been hanged…” (27). This scrapbook represents the way society views Grace and her actions.
Another symbol is that of peonies. Grace remembers them growing in Kinnear's garden. Peonies represent shame (the red ones), which is opposite of what most would view the color red. The descriptions of the flowers often represent Grace's emotional state at the time. Moreover, it is indicative of the way that women's feelings and place in society are viewed and valued.
Quilts and their symbolic significance is explained by Grace on pages 185-6. Grace wonders why women “have chosen to sew such flags, and then lay them on the tops of beds” Therefore, quilts are a large body of symbolism throughout this novel. They are stories, ideas, and feelings that are made in silence, stitched by hands that may never be recognized, and in the end, these works of art are draped over beds and over the dead.