“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” is primarily a character study. By being privy to Granny’s death, the reader can infer much about her life. The title describes the enormous hurt and humiliation that has secretly festered in her mind and heart for sixty years. Her great pride was devastated by her jilting; although she married a good man, raised a family, and managed a farm by herself after her husband’s death, she never totally got over the shock and disappointment of George’s rejection. The fact that she has saved George’s letters suggests how much he continued to mean to her in her heart and how the pain of her jilting remained with her for sixty years.
Over the years, Granny was transformed from Ellen, a young bride with “the peaked Spanish comb in her hair and the painted fan” to the fiercely proud old woman, living with one of her daughters, whom the reader encounters on her deathbed. She has weathered all that fate has thrown at her: serious illness, perilous childbirth, traveling country roads in the winter when women had their babies, sitting up all night with “sick horses and sick negroes and sick children and hardly ever losing one.”
Through perseverance and hard work, Granny has surmounted life’s obstacles and endured into old age with children who love her. However, in her most secret self, there is the evergreen memory of George’s rejection. She has not been able to share this deep hurt with her loved ones, and it has cut off a central and tender part of herself from all others. Katherine Anne Porter has drawn Granny’s character with such clarity and compelling force that her life story becomes a kind of prototype for everyone’s, regardless of age or circumstance. Personhood is sacred, and, once violated, the scars may remain for a lifetime. There is something ineffably poignant about Granny’s wanting George to know that she had her husband and children like any other woman. The sanctity of the human heart and the existential loneliness of the human condition are the enduring themes of this story.
The Jilting of Granny Weatherall Essay
748 Words3 Pages
Porter's "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" depicts the story of a dying woman's life. Throughout her eighty years of life Mrs. Weatherall has had her fair share of disappointments, heartaches, and unfavorable outcomes. This short story is written in a manner that allows the reader to get an outside view looking in; similar to looking at the story through a window as if being acted out in front of you in the theater. The story is eloquently written and leaves the reader with a sense of familiarity towards the family. The populations of readers who have had the pleasure of experiencing this pathetic story have come to relate their own experiences and disappointments towards the story and have empathetic feelings towards the main…show more content…
Cornelia is watching as her brave and independent woman is slowly fading away, mentally and physically. "She was never like this, never like this" (Porter, 517). Cornelia tells the doctor worried as she sees her mother's capacity diminishing. Granny hears this and is spiteful towards Cornelia. Granny has had a hard life and that has made her very independent. For eighty years Granny has taken care of herself, she remembers, and tells herself, "I pay my own bills, and I don't throw my money away on nonsense" (516) and now to have people coming in her room checking in on her, taking about her is unfamiliar and condescending to her. Granny is a very reserved woman one who is almost embarrassed or ashamed of allowing people to know her thoughts, "no use to let them, the kids, knows how silly she had once been" (517).
Sixty years ago Granny was to marry her first love, and without provocation or warning her day of joy become the day that would forever haunt her. She often wonders, "What does a woman do when she has put on the white veil and set out the white cake for a man and he doesn't come?" (519), this question has been secretly burning inside of her for over six decades. On her death bed, sanity fading, it still haunts her, the feelings of hurt and confusion, never knowing the reason why. She often wonders what kind of life she may have had, "For sixty years she had preyed against remembering him" (519), and forget him