The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

ITV Eng 102

May 26, 2004

“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Anne Porter is a story of a dying 80-year-old woman that, throughout the story, struggles with the thought of dying. Her name implies that she is old and has weathered many things in her life. The one thing that sees to have affected her most was being jilted at the alter on the day of her wedding. As the reader gets deeper into the story, there is a sense that Granny needs to overcome this obstacle, the one that she tried to ignore all her adult life, so she may die in peace.

At the beginning of the story, Granny refuses to believe anything is wrong with her. She clearly states in the first paragraph “Get along now, take your schoolbooks and go. There’s nothing wrong with me.” She repeatedly repeats this phrase in other words, trying to get her point across to Doctor Harry that that is nothing wrong with her. “…It’s Cornelia, I had to go to bed to get rid of her.”

In Paragraph 6, it is there that the reader starts to realize first just how close to death granny is as “her bones felt loose…and doctor Harry floated like a balloon…He floated and pulled down he waistcoat…” The images granny sees as the doctor “floats” around shows the reader that she is dizzy and lightheaded.

Still, Granny continues to refuse she is even sick, her sharp tongue and quick wit shows as she reprimands “Leave a well woman alone” she shouts now because of the fear she feels but does not want to acknowledge, as she is hit by another wave of dizziness.

“Things were finished…It was good to have everything clean and folded away..” this reader has more of a realization that though Granny does not verbalize her knowledge of her coming death. She knows and is comforted with the fact that all is ready for her death, funeral and burial, that she liked things in order and planned with no surprises.

In the following paragraphs, the reader has a sense that Granny is truly scared of death. “… It felt clammy and unfamiliar”. Deeper into the paragraph, she thinks to herself how her father lived to 102 years. In an interview with a TV station, Her father had stated that he owed it to his daily dose of hot toddy. She asks her daughter for some hot toddy. She also wants to live to be 102 years old; she does not openly admit her fear of death but uses the excuse that it is cold. “…Lying in bed stops the circulation…”

“Granny wished the old days were back again …” This quote speaks a million words. She wants to live, to go back to when she was young, healthy, and strong. She hates being old, frail and dying.

“Sometimes she wanted to see John again…all the children are older than their father…He would be a child beside her…” This paragraph signifies to the reader that John, Granny’s husband dies at a young age, leaving behind a young widow with several small children and a farm to tend to. She thought to herself that she would talk to him tomorrow, signifying that she knew she was going to meet him in death.

“A fog rose over the valley…it was time to go in and light the lamps. Come in, children, don’t stay our in the night air” In this paragraph, she speaks of the fog, a beginning of death; night, being death itself; and the lamp, the savior, the light that keeps death away.

Dark thoughts start to invade granny’s mind, from being jilted at the alter the “smoky cloud from hell that moved and crept in her head” she wants to sleep but must get up and draw that shades. She lies back down but the shades are not down, she then tries to turn away from the light for “sleeping in the light gave you nightmares”. Here in this portion of the story, the reader gets the feeling Granny is now thrashing in her bed, back and forth as she hallucinates, dreams or just thinks of her sadness, that portion of her