The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
Jilted in More Ways Than One In “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Anne Porter, the character of Granny is that of a stubborn old woman that thinks of herself as a survivor who prides herself on the strength she has shown throughout her life. In her final hours, with her children around her bed, Granny Weatherall reconsiders her life and ponders her impending death. Almost against her will, her thoughts return to an incident that occurred more than sixty years earlier. She was left standing alone at the altar when her fiance George jilted her.
Granny’s life has echoed the event in all her decisions. The spite that she still carried within her affected the upbringing of her children who were now her caretakers. Her stubbornness becomes her children’s dilemma and her own downfall in turn. She is living in a state of confusion due to her poor health but refuses to face reality. The memory, which Granny unknowingly battles stems back to her younger years when she was left at the alter. As a result of being jilted, Granny goes on to marry John who she remains wed to until his last days.
Granny is not only unaware of the manner in which she raised her children but is also convinced that she is in good health. She seems to thrive on disillusionment and at first could not accept the fact that her days were numbered. This is portrayed when the doctor is summoned and she says, “I won’t see that boy again. He just left five minutes ago” (Porter 120). She continues her denial when Cornelia calls on a priest to offer Granny her last rights. She refused to speak to the priest once he arrived. Her perception of Dr.
Harry as a balloon floating around the room clearly shows her incapability of rational thought. She tells him at one point, “get along and doctor your sick” (Porter 118), which is an implication that his medical attention is not needed in regards to her. She even goes as far as patronizing Dr. Harry about her ability to fight off sickness in her past. Her delusion, therefore, has a negative connotation on both her children and her own health. Not only was she jilted in life by the two most important people in it, but also in death and by the most important male-figure of all, God: Granny lay staring at the point of light that was herself; her body was now only a deeper mass of shadow in an endless darkness and this darkness would curl around the light and swallow it up” (Porter 122). Even though Granny went to Holy Communion every week, she really had no faith. She felt that God had deceived her. However, she had really deceived herself by attempting to live the perfect Catholic life without faith. After being left at the altar by the love of her life, Granny felt that she could no longer trust God. As Granny is dying she sees a cart that is being pushed by God.
God does not extend his hand to her, because she does not extend her hand to him. In reality she is once again being jilted, this time by herself and at the same time by God and her religion. “There is a priest in the house, but no bridegroom” in this second jilting the bridegroom could be representation of Jesus in the New Testament. In Matthew 25:1-13, a story is told of women who were waiting for Jesus but five were not ready and therefore missed him. This story allows the reader to reflect on the positive things in their own life, by showing Granny’s regret for not taking advantage of the life she lived.
Granny gained her strength by the people that she felt jilted by. George stood Granny up at the altar. He never showed up at all and it is never stated that she heard from him again. The pain forced Granny to be strong as is proven by her thoughts when she is asked if anything could be done for her. “ I want you to find George. Find him and be sure to tell him I forgot him. I want him to know I had my husband just the same and my children and my house like any other woman… Tell him I was given back everything he took away and more” (Porter 121). When John passed away, she lost her second love leaving her to raise their children on her own.
She had been strong enough to carry the burden of two lost loves and raise good children at the same time. Granny was a woman who lived a life full of meaningful and wonderful events. Many emotions can be found through the experiences and memories she reveals. Lost loves and children reflect strength early on in her life as now she cannot but lay in bed waiting for death to take her away. Denial sets in while she battles her final moments of her life. The main memory that she comes back to is her jilting by her first love, which shows that she still greatly cares for him.
This aspect of the story shows that no one is ever too old to remember a first love or wrongdoing. Love is love. Wrongdoings are wrongdoings. The best that one can hope for is that at the end of life, we can remember the good, the happiness, more than the sadness and the regrets, which is the battle that Granny faced—a battle common to all. Work Cited: Porter, Katherine A. “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall. ” Vol. 1. Literature Craft and Voice. Nicholas Delbanco and Alan Cheuse. New York City: McGraw-Hill of McGraw-Hill Companies, 2010. 3 vols. 118-22. Print.