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The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, a short story by Katherine Anne Porter, describes the last thoughts, feelings, and memories of an elderly woman. As Granny Weatherall's life literally passes before her eyes, the importance of the name of the story becomes clear. Granny Weatherall has been in some way disappointed in every love relationship of her life. Her past lover George, husband John, daughter Cornelia, and God all did wrong by what the author refers to as “jilting.” These actions caused Granny to be a mixture of strength, bitterness, and final fear as she faces her last moments in life.
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. . She was extremely humiliated and hurt. What George took from her was her pride, and her ability to enjoy a completely happy life free from resentment. Even though she married another man and had children and had a good, long life, she never got over George's jilting of her and she never was able to forgive him. Thus, she is left facing this anger and humiliation as she is dying and therefore cannot die in peace. The pain forced Granny to be strong as is proved by her thoughts when she was asked if anything could be done for her, she answered by saying that someone should tell George that she had done a good job and that he was of no need. Granny did marry a man named John, but her strength was again broken when he died at a young age, leaving her to raise their children on her own. She had been strong enough to carry the trouble of two lost loves and raise good children at the same time.
It was one of these children, Cornelia, who made her act somewhat bitterly in her last days. With her daughter whispering about her and saying she should be left as is at her old age, Granny felt like she had been in some way betrayed. She felt like Cornelia was treating her like a child. The thing that most annoyed her was that Cornelia thought she was deaf, dumb, and blind and she would let Granny have her way by saying that she was eighty years old.
In her most final moments, as she felt herself falling into death, she could not find a sign of God, George, or John to see her. Not only was she jilted in life by the two most important people in it, but also in death and by the most important man-figure of all, God. She had once again been left at the altar, but this time, the altar of death. She could not remember any other sorrow because this grief wiped them all away.
In life and in death, Granny Weatherall has been jilted and therefore made strong, bitter, and fearful. As death crept up, she knew that she was not given any sign and therefore she leaned forward and blew the light.