The Jilting of Granny Weatherall


"Katherine Anne Porter’s short fiction is noted for its sophisticated use of symbolism, complex exploitation of point of view, challenging variations of ambiguously ironic tones, and profound analyses of psychological and social themes."[3]

The Jilting of Granny Weatherall is no exception. In this story, Porter employs the stream-of-consciousness narrative technique.[4] This style allows Porter to create empathy for the title character by giving readers uncensored access into Granny’s mind, memories and experiences. She draws an intimate portrait of a strong, independent woman who, over the course of a lifetime, has harbored a deep and painful secret.

Porter’s use of religious symbolism can be seen in the vision Granny has of Hapsy holding her infant son. And when Granny remembers the fateful day of her jilting, she is overcome by images of dark smoke and hellfire.

Additionally, Porter uses simile and metaphor to describe the process of dying.[4] Early in the story, Porter uses images of floating to convey Granny's state of mind as she wavers in and out of consciousness. Granny's "bones felt loose, and floated around in her skin". "Doctor Harry floated like a balloon around the foot of the bed." "The pillow rose and floated under her." However, as Granny’s death becomes imminent, the tone changes, and Porter uses images of darkness and falling to describe Granny’s worsening condition. "Her heart sank down and down, there was no bottom to death." In describing the moment Granny dies, Porter writes, "She stretched herself with a deep breath and blew out the light."

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