The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
Depiction of the Family During the Storm based on The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
Family as a theme in literature
Family is a difficult thing to describe. Some consider only blood relatives to be family, while others consider family to be the people that you love and care about the most. No matter who you ask, family has a different meaning to everyone. For example, many of the different stories that we have read in class so far this semester portray a different meaning of family. This can be seen in The Storm, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, and Everyday Use.
First, family is an important factor in the story The Storm. Calixta, the mother, cares very much about her family, and when she realizes that there is a storm coming she gets very worried. This can be seen in the quote, “I got enough to do! An’ there’s Bobinôt with Bibi out in that storm – if he only didn’ left Freidheimer’s!” (Chopin 97). On the contrary, a bit later in the story, Calixta shows little care for her family when she has an affair with Alcèe. This can be observed by the quote, “Bobinôt and Bibi began to relax and enjoy themselves, and when the three seated themselves at table they laughed much and so loud that anyone might have heard them as far away as Laballière’s” (Chopin 99). Calixta is not even phased and goes on to have a normal evening when not even a few hours earlier she was sleeping with another man while her husband was away.
Next, we observe the meaning of family in the story The Jilting of Granny Weatherall. In this story, Granny Weatherall is on her deathbed, recounting many memories from her life. She is surrounded by her family members and is greeted by fond, loving memories of them. This is observed in the quote, “They had been so sweet when they were little. Granny wished the old days were back again with the children young and everything to be done over” (Porter 58). Despite these feelings of happiness about her family, Granny Weatherall could not help to feel regret. She imagines the family that she could have had with George, but instead he left her at the alter. She would not have had these great memories with her family if she had married George, but she can’t help but to long for what could have been. This is evident in the quote, “For sixty years she had prayed against remembering him and against losing her soul in the deep pit of hell, and now the two things were mingled in one and the thought of him was a smoky cloud from hell that moved and crept in her head when she had just gotten rid of Doctor Harry and was trying to rest a minute” (Porter 60). In her final moments, Granny Weatherall can’t help to feel unprepared for death, worrying about what could have been, instead of enjoying her time with her family that was there to support her.
Lastly, we will take a look at the aspect of family in the story Everyday Use. Maggie and her mother await the arrival of Dee, Maggie’s sister back home from college for dinner. Dee returns home and is vastly different from how she was when she left, even changing her name. Despite these changes, Maggie and her mother still accept Dee for who she is and what she wants to be. This can be observed in the quote, “If that’s what you want us to call you, we’ll call you” (Walker 73). Dee had changed her name to try to be closer to her family roots and tradition. She has a strong sense of family, but no so much in the immediate sense. She takes her sister and mother for granted, but longs to make a connection with her African heritage. This is shown in the quote, “You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you’d never know it” (Walker 76). Dee is trying to see the bigger picture of her family, while ignoring the caring family that she has right in front of her.
In conclusion, many of the different stories that we have read in class so far this semester portray a different meaning of family. Whether it’s caring for your loved ones in The Storm, revisiting old memories from over the years in The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, or trying to understand your heritage in Everyday Use, each of these stories portray a different aspect or meaning of family. Those are just a few examples of what family means. One could go on for pages writing about the many different meanings of family, just from assessing the stories that we have read this semester alone. Family will always be an important aspect of everyone’s life, but it is what family means to you that makes it so special.
Analysis Of The Jilting Of Granny Weatherall By Katherine Anne Porter
There are speculations in this world about whether many individuals are at peace or suffering when taking the last breath of life. Some may feel that is it finally their time to leave this earth, whereas others beg for another option to remain. The main character Granny Weatherall’s case, she is still holding onto feelings that she presumes were in the past and already dismissed out of her memory.
In the short story “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Anne Porter, Granny Weatherall’s sign to pass on is admitting she still loves her ex-fiancé George. These key indicators include holding onto George’s love letters, yearning for her deceased daughter Hapsy, and telling Cornelia to give him a message. In terms of expressing endearment to a significant other, many individuals opt to use the traditional pen and paper method to get the job done. The main character keeps both George’s and her deceased husband John’s letters tied together in a box in her attic, repeatedly telling herself she has to go through them tomorrow. She states that “Tomorrow was far away and there was nothing to trouble about”, knowing she would still have a chance to read them. The term ‘tomorrow’ can be interpreted as a symbol of not wanting to open up about the feelings she still has for George and wanting to store them away for a later period. Though she admits that she is happily married to her late husband, a part of her still wants to hold onto the feeling of George expressing those similar heartfelt words. She fears to have her letters being read by her children when she does pass on, revealing that “…how silly she had been once”. For many, it is not easy to display a vulnerable side to their loved ones especially if it is someone from one’s past.
The sacred life that Granny Weatherall and George have is something she feels her kids would never understand. Granny Weatherall’s love for her ex-fiancé is so strong that even though her late husband remains to be the love of her life, she still wants to keep George’s letters that were sent to her. She is not obligated to, but it is the sense of not letting go of something she truly wants. Granny Weatherall mentions to her daughter Cornelia that she wants “a lot of things”, inferring that George is something she still secretly begs for. Though it takes her until the end of the story to admit how she truly feels, the audience can conclude that the feelings have never left her. One may say that a mother and child’s bond is something that no one can take away from them.
An illusion of Hapsy overtakes her mind while her late husband’s daughter Cornelia tries to talk to her mother. She thinks to herself as if Cornelia does not exist, “When this one was born it should have been the last…It should have been born first, for it was the one she had truly wanted”. This raises assumptions in the audience about the newly introduced character in the story. It is evident that Cornelia has never been in her mother’s good graces throughout her life. Secondly, Granny Weatherall is yearning for the daughter that she wishes at her bedside, knowing that it is in fact George’s child as well. She pictures Hapsy in her arms as if she is the first born, but the image soon becomes clouded and “a gauzy shadow”. Hapsy’s shadow can be interpreted as the absence of losing George in the process, feeling as if Granny Weatherall is abandoned again. Also, she feels as if George is the reason why Hapsy did not make it. She reminds herself that she is blessed with everything that he has taken away from her when he jilted her at the altar on their wedding day. The thoughts of death on her mind make Granny Weatherall feel uneasy throughout the story. But, the moments that involve Hapsy ‘speaking’ to her is when she feels she is ready to pass on. In her illusion, Hapsy comes up to her and says “I thought you’d never come”. This could infer that she knows her mother is coming with her into the gates of heaven.
Finally, in frail moments before it is time to go, Granny Weatherall asks her daughter Cornelia for a very interesting favor. This could be interpreted in one of two ways: her final wishes or a lighthearted comment on how life will go on without her. But, neither of those possibilities are what she would like. After sixty of not seeing her ex-fiancé George, she admits that she wants to “find him”. One may conclude that she wants to say her final goodbyes to him. Also, Granny Weatherall mentions to Cornelia that she wants George to know that she has forgotten about him. It is very ironic how the main character repeatedly explains to the audience that George is in the past and she loves her life now, but still her mind wanders to him. The stumbling of her memory is evident in her monologue to George — forgetting things that she wants to tell him before it is too late.
Lastly, Granny Weatherall reveals the happiness her late husband John gives her. She mentions the wonderful house and children she raised and telling the audience it is “better than I hoped for even”. This poses another question among the audience about if she is really happy with how her life turned out without George. The main character sounds as if she doubts that her late husband is everything she ever wanted in life.
All in all, love is a very powerful thing that can either be used as a shield or a weapon. It is hard to understand why many individuals hold onto past love when they know it may never be perceived in the same way they were used too. Granny Weatherall struggles with the idea that George has always been on her mind. By expressing her untold intentions, though she is unhappy to admit them to herself, she is able to put her mind at ease in the last sentence of the short story.
A Comparative Study of Stream of Consciousness Technique in Miss Brill and The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
Miss Brill and Granny Weatherall
Katherine Mansfield’s short story “Miss Brill” is written in third person omniscient. The story lapses over one Sunday afternoon. Katharine Anne Porter’s short story “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” is also told in the lapse of about a day but is told in a variant of third person called stream of consciousness. Stream of consciousness presents things going through the characters’ mind. The protagonists of “Miss Brill” and “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” are similar in the same ways they are different.
Miss Brill is a lonely woman who looks forward to spending her Sundays in the Jardins Publique. She sits in her “special” seat eavesdropping. This is her escape from the life she has. She likes to think she and everyone in the park on Sundays are part of a play but in reality, she is a part of nothing. Sundays and her fox fur coat are two of the few things that make her happy. She’s quite embarrassed to tell her English pupils how she spends her Sunday afternoons
Granny Weatherall is the opposite of lonely but more like smothered. The Doctor won’t leave her alone, her daughter won’t leave her side, and Father Connolly comes to visit.
Miss Brill is quite happy with the life she fantasizes for herself. She is not at all in touch with reality. She thinks of the others who come to sit on the benches on Sunday as, “They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they’d just come from dark little rooms or even—even cupboards!” (Mansfield, 102)
Granny Weatherall is quite bitter when looking back on her life and realizing how many of her loved ones had did her wrong. George was her fiancé who left her at the altar. She then married John who died young and left her to play the role of mother and father. Cornelia, granny Weatherall’s daughter treats her like a child. She acknowledges the reality of everything that has happened to her.
Though Miss Brill and Granny Weatherall seem to lead absolute different lives they are both very observant women. Miss Brill was quite observant on her Sunday afternoons in the park. She sat in her “special” seat and observe everything and everyone. She could notice any slight change from last Sundays afternoon. “Wasn’t the conductor wearing a new coat, too?” (Mansfield, 101).
Granny Weatherall is in touch with reality while Miss Brill fantasizes up a life on her Sunday afternoons to forget about everything else. Miss Brill is lonely while Granny Weatherall is overwhelmed with company. One main characteristic the two protagonists have in common is their observant eye. Ultimately Miss Brill and Granny Weatherall have more differences then similarities.
Granny Weatherall Character’s Analysis and Development
Granny Weatherall is a very complex character. She is a very complex person because she has different layers of issues. There are surface level problems that everyone can see. Then there is the inner level and the core level. The inner level is the cause of the pain. The core is the innermost level. It’s the part that explains the main reason Granny Weatherall is the way she is and why she does what she does. Every person has a story, including Granny Weatherall. Ever since the beginning of the story, the reader is informed how Granny is. It is obviously very important that the reader understands what Granny is all about right off the bat.
On the outside, Granny was not the nicest person. Granny has a tendency to be snappy and short-tempered with Doctor Harry and her daughter Cornelia. She refused to get help from the doctor and just wished he would leave her alone. “Get along now, take your schoolbooks and go. There’s nothing wrong with me.” (Pg. 56) This is the first thing Granny says in the story. “-But I’d be happy if they’d let me lie in peace and get rested.” (Pg. 60) She clearly had no intention of trying to get along with the doctor. As for Cornelia, she doesn’t want her to be helping. Granny wants to be strong and not admit to needing help. So she pushes Cordelia away too. “I want a lot of things. First off, go away and don’t whisper.” (Pg. 57) These statements made by Granny show that she is very closed off and would rather keep to herself. This is because problems more serious than being aggravated by a doctor and her daughter.
Granny’s complexities stem from George, her ex-fiancé. The past events with George caused Granny to be extremely bitter. The memory of him leaving her at the altar still burns in Granny’s brain forever. Watching the one you love walk away is a traumatic experience. It changes a woman, just like it changed Granny. Unfortunately, she changed for the worst. She tries to cover up her pain with a rough exterior. She tells her daughter Cordelia to “Find him and be sure to tell him I forgot him…Tell him I was given back everything he took away and more.”(Pg. 61) This quote proves that she truly is not over George and has not forgotten the past. The fact that George is what Granny is thinking about in her last moments of life is just more proof of her pain. Even though she later found John and married him, George never left her mind. No matter how much it may have hurt, she never forgot her first love. He had a hold on her. When she said “Something not given back…” she was realizing that he never loved her back. For years, she tried to forget him and what he had done to her. It didnt work. Granny just wanted to be loved by him. He couldn’t even give her that. This caused her to have lasting effect in her future. She always longed for his affection. She compared her husband John to George.
Now, the core of the problem is revealed when Granny says things such as “But I can’t. It’s not my time. Oh, I always hated surprises.”(Pg. 63) Granny was not the most optimistic about life, that anyone could blame her for that. Unfortunately for Granny, not only did she hate surprises but she was forced to experience them often. “For the second time there was no sign.”(Pg. 63) These two quotes together prove that Granny died bitter. She was taken by surprise with no warning. For her, not having a warning really hits home. The fact that Granny hated surprises but died as a result of surprise pure irony. Especially after what happened with George. Now this time, she has no warning before death. Her last wish was to God praying for a sign. “God, give a sign!” (Pg. 63) Looking back on life, she wished she had gotten a sign, some forewarning that George would leave her. Now she wished she had a sign for when life was going to leave her. The root of all these complexities is Granny herself. She has a hard time admitting the truth. She hides her feelings because it’s easier. She denied her health declining because it made her feel weak. She denied that it was her time to die because it made her feel out of control. She didn’t want to accept any responsibility for the pain and anguish she has felt for the past sixty years. She will find any reason to blame another person. She blamed the doctor and Cordelia for annoying her in bed while she was trying to rest. She blamed George for ruining her. The reality is that Granny caused her own misery by holding on to the bad moments in life and not the good. All the anger and angst in Granny’s life is why the author chose to have Granny die in the exact opposite way she wanted to go.
Overall, Granny Weatherall is a bitter, dying woman. She had many issues that ranged in severity. Some were easy to see while others were not. There are so many things that the reader does not know about Granny and if the reader was aware they would understand better why she had so much anger built up inside that one woman. The most complex part of her is that we still don’t know all of her complexities. No one ever really could. Some complexities are secrets. Only things that we ourselves could ever know. For Granny, her secrets will die with her. Although she had been hurt, she had something better come along. But for her, that wasn’t enough. She was given grace, but didn’t accept it because of this raw, negative emotions she felt. She was destroyed her and is now forever broken.