The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
By Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980)
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Type of Work
Year of Publication
Figures of Speech
Questions, Essay Topics
Fascinating Fact Nigh Porter
Complete Gratuitous Text
Type of Piece of work and Narration
…….Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” is a short story told partly with a narrative technique known as stream of consciousness, a term coined by American psychologist William James (1842-1910). With this technique, an writer portrays a character’s standing “stream” of thoughts as they occur, regardless of whether they make sense or whether the next idea in a sequence relates to the previous thought.
…….The story is told in tertiary-person betoken of view by a narrator who frequently reveals the thoughts of Granny Weatherall in language that Granny would apply if she were speaking. Because Granny is disoriented, these thoughts focus on present perceptions one moment and on onetime memories the side by side. Her perceptions and recollections favor her positive view of herself.
Year of Publication
…….“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” was first published in Feb 1929 in
(uncapitalized), an English-linguistic communication literary journal printed in Paris. The publication featured experimental writing. A year afterward, the story was published in a drove of Porter’south stories entitled
Flowering Judas and Other Stories.
…….The action takes place in a chamber in the domicile of Granny Weatherall’s girl Cornelia. Granny, most eighty, is lying face up in the bed. She is dying of an undisclosed illness. The time is probably the belatedly 1920s. Flashbacks, however, engagement as far dorsum as the late 1860s, when Granny’southward fianc� abandoned her on the day they were to exist married.
Ellen (Granny) Weatherall: Feisty woman of virtually eighty who ruminates about events in her life as she lies dying in the habitation of her daughter Cornelia. Because of her illness, she is lucid one moment and disoriented the side by side. A painful retentivity, one she had repressed for threescore years, surfaces and haunts her at the hr of her expiry. It is the retentivity of the twenty-four hours—sixty years before—when her fianc�, George, jilted her. Afterwards she later married a human named John, she gave nascence to four children. John died young but Granny carried on, rearing the children, working her farmland and orchard, and caring for animals.
Cornelia: Girl of Granny. While her mother is on her deathbed, Cornelia takes intendance of her.
George: Man who abandoned Granny on the day he was to marry her.
John: Deceased husband of Granny.
Doctor Harry: Granny’southward physician.
Hapsy: Daughter of Granny and, the narration says, the simply child Granny “really wanted.” The story implies that she has preceded her mother in death.
Jimmy: Son of Granny.
Lydia: Daughter of Granny.
Lydia’s Husband: Man whom Granny considers “worthless.”
Nurse: Person who accompanies the doctor on a nighttime visit to Granny’southward bedside.
Father Connolly: Roman Catholic priest who comes to requite Granny the church’s final rites.
Sister Borgia: Nun whom Granny wants to transport six bottles of wine for indigestion.
Begetter of Granny: Man who lived to age 102. He attributed his longevity to his do of drinking a hot toddy every 24-hour interval.
By Michael J. Cummings
…….Physician Harry feels Granny Weatherall’s pulse, but she pushes him away, saying, “Get along at present. Take your schoolbooks and get. In that location’s nothing wrong with me.” He and then feels her forehead and tells her to exist sure to remain in bed.
…….When he goes out, Granny closes her optics just reopens them when she hears Cornelia and the doctor whispering.
…….“She was never like this, never like this!”
…….Cornelia’s kindness and considerateness annoy Granny, and she pictures herself spanking her daughter. Granny drowses, thinking she had had a long day. There was always something to be done. She reviews the chores for the next day (mayhap her manner of putting her life in order before dying), including folding laundry, putting the pantry in order, dusting the bronze clock. And and then, the narrator says, at that place was the business concern of the letters in the attic: “George’south letters and John’s letters and her letters to them both—lying effectually for the children to find afterwards made her uneasy.”
…….When she was lx, Granny began preparing for expiry by visiting her children and grandchildren, thinking it would exist the last they would run into of her. She made out her will, then got sick. But when she recovered, she decided to alive on for a long fourth dimension. Her father had fabricated it to a hundred and two, claiming that a noggin of stiff toddy each day deemed for his longevity.
…….She thought again of Cornelia, of how she would say, “Don’t cross her, allow her accept her way, she’s eighty years onetime.” Granny had a mind to pack up and go back to her ain abode and then she wouldn’t take to put upwardly with such nonsense. Every bit far as beingness old is concerned, Granny notes to herself that Lydia still drives eighty miles to ask for advice on treatment her children, and Jimmy comes over to go her opinion on business matters. She wishes see could see her late hubby, John, to bespeak out what a skilful job she did raising the children. All the children are older than John now. But afterward all the work she had done—even earthworks mail service holes for fences—he probably wouldn’t recognize her.
…….“John would be looking for a young woman with a peaked Spanish comb in her hair and the painted fan,” she thinks. “Digging post holes inverse a woman. Riding country roads in the winter when women had their babies was some other thing: sitting upwardly nights with ill horses and sick negroes and ill children and hardly ever losing i.”
…….Granny recalls other memories. Nigh calling the children in when a fog was creeping over the orchard, and then lighting the lamps in the house and so they didn’t have to exist afraid anymore. About having them option all the fruit so goose egg went to waste.
…….Then she remembers the twenty-four hour period she was jilted. For sixty years, the narrator says, she had prayed against remembering George and now the retention of him occupied her as she was trying to rest. The narrator reports what she is thinking: “Wounded vanity, Ellen. . . . Don’t let your wounded vanity go the upper hand of yous.”
…….Cornelia comes in and tells her mother that the physician has arrived to look in on her.
…….“He left simply v minutes ago,” Granny says.
…….But Cornelia informs her he had last checked her in the morning. It is at present dark. A nurse has come in too. When Cornelia says the doctor is going to requite her a hypodermic, Granny says she’due south been seeing sugar ants in her bed.
Her daughter Hapsy appears earlier her and says, “I thought y’all’d never come” (suggesting that Hapsy has already died and has been waiting for her mother in the afterworld). “Yous oasis’t changed a bit!”
…….Granny wants someone to find George. The narrator reveals her thoughts:
…….Find him and be sure to tell him I forgot him. I want him to know I had my husband simply the same and my children and my house similar any other woman. A good house besides and a good hubby that I loved and fine children out of him. Meliorate than I had hoped for even. Tell him I was given back everything he took away and more. Oh, no, oh, God, no, there was something else besides the house and the human being and the children. Oh, surely they were not all? What was information technology? Something not given dorsum. . . .
…….Male parent Connolly, a Roman Catholic priest, arrives to requite her the last rites of the church. Granny thinks near how he used to “drop in and inquire well-nigh her soul every bit if it were a teething infant, and so stay on for a cup of tea and a round of cards and gossip.”
…….Granny muses that she has no worries nigh her soul, for her “favorite saints” have already cleared her a path to heaven. Her eyes open, and the light is blue considering of the color of the lampshades. The narrator says Granny’s thoughts return to the 24-hour interval of the jilting: “What if he did run away and leave me to face the priest by myself? I found some other a whole world better. I wouldn’t take exchanged my married man for anybody except St. Michael himself. . . .”
…….Granny sees the blue calorie-free palpitate and die. Endless darkness envelops her, and she asks God for a sign.
…….But, the narrator says, there is no sign: “Over again no bridegroom and the priest in the house. She could not remember any other sorrow because this grief wiped them all away. “
…….A moment after she dies.
…….In the title,
tin refer non only to the jilting of Granny by George but besides to Granny’southward belief that God has jilted her. The name
suggests that Granny believes she has
the adversities of life.
Responding to Loss With Perseverance
The overall theme of “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” is how one woman, Ellen Weatherall, responds to loss by persevering. Start, her fiance, George, abandoned her. Consequently, she lost non only her future husband but besides a proficient mensurate of her self-esteem. Eventually, she married a man named John and bore him four children. But John died young, leaving her to finish rearing the children. Then one of the children—Hapsy, her favorite—died, too, after bearing a child of her ain. Granny’due south losses make their marking on her, as the following passage indicates. In a flashback, Granny is speaking to her children. Note the boldfaced letters in red that relate to the theme.
I want y’all to pick all the fruit this yr and encounter nix is wasted. There’due south always someone who tin can utilize it. Don’t let good things rot for want of using. You waste life when you waste good food.
Don’t let things go lost. It’s biting to lose things
Just Granny lived upwards to her name by weathering all her losses. She did and then through her feistiness, her potent will to carry on, and her repression of the painful retentivity of the day George jilted her. She is proud of how well she faced up to her responsibilities. The narrator says,
It had been a hard pull, but non too much for her. When she thought of all the food she had cooked, and all the clothes she had cut and sewed, and all the gardens she had made—well, the children showed information technology. At that place they were, fabricated out of her, and they couldn’t get away from that. Sometimes she wanted to meet John again and point to them and say, Well, I didn’t do so desperately, did I?
When Granny lies dying in the home of her daughter—facing still another loss, the loss of her own life—the repressed memory of George emerges to haunt her deathbed ruminations. The moment comes when, in her disoriented country, her mind conjures the following scene: “A fog rose over the valley, she saw it marching across the creek swallowing the trees and moving up the hill like an ground forces of ghosts. Soon information technology would exist at the near edge of the orchard, and so it was fourth dimension to go in and light the lamps. Come in, children, don’t stay out in the night air.”
In this vision of her past, she attempts to banish the retentiveness of George (the fog) past taking the children within and striking a lucifer to the oil lamps. Her strategy succeeds for a moment, as the narrative reports: “Lighting the lamps had been beautiful. The children huddled up to her and breathed similar little calves waiting at the bars in the twilight. Their eyes followed the lucifer and watched the flame ascension and settle in a blue curve, then they moved away from her. The lamp was lit, they didn’t have to exist scared and hang on to mother any more.”
But the retentivity of George comes back.
The pillow rose about her shoulders and pressed against her center and the retentiveness was being squeezed out of it. . . . . For sixty years she had prayed confronting remembering him and against losing her soul in the deep pit of hell, and now the two things were mingled in 1 and the idea of him was a smoky cloud from hell that moved and crept in her head when she had but got rid of Doctor Harry and was trying to rest a minute. Wounded vanity, Ellen, said a sharp voice in the top of her mind. Don’t permit your wounded vanity become the upper hand of you. Plenty of girls become jilted. Y’all were jilted, weren’t y’all? Then stand up to it.
Before she slips abroad and dies, Granny thinks she is facing the ultimate loss, the loss of God Himself, as her internal monologue indicates: “For a second time in that location was no sign. Again no bridegroom and the priest in the house. She could not remember any other sorrow considering this grief wiped them all abroad. Oh, no, there’s nil more than savage than this—I’ll never forgive it.”
Here, Granny responds with typical feistiness–“I’ll never forgive it.”
Instead of facing and dealing with the memory of George’s jilting of her, Granny represses it. For lx years, she keeps it locked in a deep recess in her soul. To what extent her repression of this retentivity impairs the quality of her life is uncertain. In her deathbed reflections, she seems to advise that she was better off without George: “What if he did run away and leave me to face the priest by myself? I establish another a whole world improve. I wouldn’t have exchanged my husband for anybody except St. Michael himself. . . . “
But why does she keep his letters to her? Why does the memory of him haunt her at the end of her life?
Following in Christ’s Footsteps
Granny has many faults, not the to the lowest degree of which is criticizing others. Nevertheless, in her own manner, she tries to follow in Christ’s footsteps. Consider, for instance, that Granny underwent a humiliating public
when George jilted her and that she
through many trials, including “riding country roads in the winter when women had their babies” and “sitting up nights with sick horses and ill negroes and sick children.” The suffering and rejection endured by Granny phone call to mind this Bible quotation: “[T]he Son of human being must
many things, and be
by the ancients and by the high priests” (Mark 8: 31).
…….Granny’due south perseverance and her organized religion in God enabled her to come up through her difficulties, as she notes: “God, for all my life, I thank Thee. Without Thee, my God, I could never have done information technology.” On her deathbed, she has a notion that she will even overcome her fatal illness:
“She was strong, in 3 days she would exist also as ever. Improve.” This passage echoes the following Bible passages:
And . . . later three days
[He will] rise once more. (Marking 8:31)
Jesus . . . said to them: Destroy this temple, and in 3 days I will raise it up. (John 2:19)
The Son of man must exist delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (Luke 24:seven)
…….At the last moment of her life, Granny believes God has forsaken her, saying to herself, “Once more no bridegroom and the priest in the firm.” This passage calls to mind words spoken past Christ on the cross: “And almost the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, maxim: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).
When Granny dies, the narrator says, she “stretched herself with a deep jiff and blew out the lite.” Of Christ’s last moment, John 19:xxx reports, “Jesus said ‘it is finished.’ With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
Granny’south Attitude Toward Cornelia, Hapsy
In her deathbed reflections, Granny resents Cornelia’s doting presence. Consider the following passage:
It was similar Cornelia to whisper around doors. She ever kept things secret in such a public way. She was e’er being tactful and kind. Cornelia was dutiful; that was the trouble with her. Dutiful and skillful: “And so good and dutiful,” said Granny, “that I’d similar to spank her.” She saw herself spanking Cornelia and making a fine job of it.
When Cornelia asks Granny whether she wants anything, Granny replies, “I practise. I want a lot of things. Outset off, go away and don’t whisper.” The narration later reports that
[Granny] could simply hear Cornelia telling her husband that Mother was getting a trivial childish and they’d have to sense of humour her. The affair that most annoyed her was that Cornelia thought she was deaf, dumb, and bullheaded. Little hasty glances and tiny gestures tossed around here and over her head saying, “Don’t cantankerous her, let her have her fashion, she’due south eighty years former,” and she sitting in that location equally if she lived in a sparse glass cage. Sometimes granny well-nigh made upwardly her listen to pack up and move back to her own house where nobody could remind her every minute that she was old. Wait, wait, Cornelia, till your own children whisper behind your back!
I could interpret Granny’s resentment of Cornelia as a sign that she is the daughter of George and therefore a constant reminder of him.
Hapsy, on the other hand, is a favorite of Granny. A possible reason for her favored position is that she may have been the second of Granny’south children and the start born to John. Hapsy’s birth thus would take been a declaration of independence from George, whom Granny wished to blackball from her listen. Granny would exist able to say, “I have my ain kid now and a husband who stands by me. I don’t need George.”
Hapsy the second child? There’south a expert chance that she was. In one of her internal monologues, Granny says,
“When this one [Hapsy] was born information technology should be the last. The final. It should take been born first, for it was the one she had truly wanted.” Observe that the first sentence says
should be last, not
was last, and that the second says
should accept been built-in first, not
was born first. Therefore, Hapsy was either the second or third child.
Climax and the Questions It Raises
The climax occurs when Granny cannot perceive the presence of God as she lapses toward death. Among the possible reasons Granny believes God is “jilting” her are the following:
George’s abandonment of her so damaged her self-esteem that she at present believes she is non worthy of sky. Although Granny asserts in her musings that she has weathered the hurt George acquired, conspicuously the jilting has had a long-term effect. “For threescore years,” the narrator says, “she had prayed against remembering him.” Her prayers are an acknowledgment that the retentivity of George has remained firmly lodged in her heed.
She committed a sin that she believes has jeopardized her salvation. For case, it is possible that she became pregnant with George’southward baby, then hurriedly married John later on the jilting to avert the stigma of bearing a child out of marriage. Having sexual relations outside spousal relationship is a grave sin in Roman Catholicism. Of course, she no doubtfulness would take confessed her sin and performed penance, merely she could have experienced lingering guilt. Information technology may be, too, that she wronged John by allowing him to believe that all of the children were his.
Her illness has muddled her thinking.
She is experiencing a normal fear of death and the inability of humans to grasp fully the concept of God.
Figures of Oral communication
…….Following are examples of figures of spoken communication in the story.
Repetition of a consonant sound
ed as the papers
or the new
Development that is the opposite of what is expected
Cornelia says to Granny, “Oh, is in that location anything you desire to tell me? Is at that place anything I can exercise for you lot?” Granny responds with these thoughts: “Yes, she had changed her heed afterwards lx years and she would like to run across George. I want you to find George. Detect him and be sure to tell him I forgot him.”
Here, Granny’s want to find George contradicts her assertion that she has forgotten him–a flake of humour that lightens the deathbed atmosphere.
Comparing of dissimilar things without using
Her breath crowded down under her ribs and grew into a monstrous frightening shape with cut edges. (Comparison of breath to an object with precipitous edges)
Word that imitates a sound
She listened to the leaves
outside the window. No, somebody was
Contradictory statement that is really true
kept things secret
in such a public way
Comparison of unlike things using
He had cursed similar a crewman’southward parrot. (Comparing of a human to a parrot)
Fascinating Fact About the Author
…….In an interview with Barbara Thompson (Writers at Work, 1963) Katherine Anne Porter said she always wrote the last paragraph of a story first, and then backed upwards and wrote about all of the events leading upward to the events described in the terminal paragraph. It was important for her to know the destination of her literary journey first so that she could set a course (like sailors and airline pilots) leading to the destination.
Study Questions and Essay Topics
ane...Granny says she prayed for sixty years to forget George. Why, then, did she keep his messages?
two...Why is Granny concerned about the letters in the attic?
3...Granny indicates in her deathbed reflections that she loved John. Did she really? Or was she simply trying to persuade herself that she did?
4...Read the following quotation from the story:
Find him and be sure to tell him I forgot him. I want him to know I had my married man but the same and my children and my house like any other woman. A practiced house too and a proficient married man that I loved and fine children out of him. Improve than I had hoped for fifty-fifty. Tell him I was given back everything he took away and more. Oh, no, oh, God, no, there was something else also the house and the human being and the children. Oh, surely they were not all? What was it? Something not given dorsum. . . .
In your opinion, what was the “something not given dorsum”?
5...Write a pyschological portraint of Granny. Include research from the story and other sources to back up your thesis.
6...Why wasn’t Granny in a hospital?
Granny represents everyone. After all, everyone struggles against loss–the loss of religion, hope, love, respect, self-esteem, prestige, loyalty, power, money, mental health, physical wellness, and even niggling objects such as car keys. The play a trick on is to persevere. Write an essay about a loss (or losses) you suffered and what you did to carry on.
Where Does the Jilting of Granny Weatherall Take Place
Originally posted 2022-08-07 04:34:10.