Characterisation of Grace

Grace McColl is one of the two main characters in “Tell Me” by Zoë Sharp. Her outer characterisation reveals that she is a “Crime Scene Investigator” (p. 39, l. 2). She is portrayed dressed in a “disposable white suit” (p. 39, l. 9), which is necessary for her job, but no further information is given about her physical appearance or age.

Inner characterisation

When it comes to Grace’s inner characterisation, the first thing we discover is her gentle and caring attitude towards the attacked girl: “ ‘Hello,’ she said quietly. ‘I’m Grace. I’m going to be taking care of you now. Can you tell me who you are?’ There was a long pause, then: ‘Does it matter?’ ” (p. 39, ll. 26-27).

Although the girl is not keen to communicate, Grace still tries to show her that she cares about her and that her identity matters: “ ‘Of course it matters,’ Grace said, keeping her tone light. ‘Finding out about you will help us find out who did this to you. Help us catch him. You want that, don’t you?’ ” (p. 39, ll. 34-36).

Even though the girl does not tell her much, Grace can easily deduce that her childhood was rough. This demonstrates that Grace knows girls of her type and that she is experienced in doing her job:

‘Your clothes were dirty before that,’ Grace said, no censure in her quiet voice. ‘And you’re a pretty girl. Your nails are painted – or they were. You wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t wanted to look nice, once upon a time.’ (p. 40, ll. 24-27)

Grace praises the girl when she realises that she has marked her attacker by scratching him, knowing that this will boost the girl’s ego, thus helping her to trust Grace and reveal more information about her. During her dialogue with the girl, Grace further reveals that she can read clues in a way that the girl does not expect. She seems sad to realise that the girl has had a terrible childhood and that she even self-harmed:


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