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.
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