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What does the blue light represent?"The Gilting of Granny Weatherall"

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aacaboo | eNoter

Posted October 14, 2010 at 2:19 AM via web

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What does the blue light represent?

"The Gilting of Granny Weatherall"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 14, 2010 at 3:22 AM (Answer #1)

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Traditionally, blue is the color of stability, calm, and order; however, it also respresents other feelings such as depression.  As the color of the sky, blue has an expansiveness to it, too.  In Katerine Anne Porter's short story, "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, blue is prevalent througout the narrative, representing the various stages of Granny's life.  In the beginning of the story, Granny reflects that it is good to have everything in order, "clean and folded away."  The white linen is folded the shite stone-china jaras with "blue whirligigs" are laid out in rows.  She also recalls having lighted the lamps when young and her children came into the house, providing them security in the evening, 

Their eyes followed the match and watched the flame rise and settle in a blue curve, then they moved away from it....they didn't have to be scared and hang on to mother any more.

Then as Granny reflects upon her jilting by John,

streamers of blue-gray light like tissue paper [move] over her eyes.

These streamers of light make Granny worry that she will have nightmares, remembering times that have troubled her. This faded blue represents Granny's troubles, her "blues."  Later after the priest visits to admnister the Last Rites, Granny eyes begin to fade.  She opens them widely and sees a picture of John on a black dresser.  Enlarged from a small picture, John 's eyes appear to be very black, but Granny knows they should have been blue.  The "light was blue" from Corneli'a silk lampshades:

No sort of light at all, just flippery.  You had to live forty years with kerosene lamps to appreciate honest electricity.

Here blue represents the new world that has left Granny behind.  Finally, this blue light draws"into a tiny point in the center of her brain, symbolizing the life of Granny that also has dwindled and become worthless.

The blue light from Cornelia's lampshade drew into a tiny point in the center of her brain, it flickered and winked like an eye, quietly it flutterd and died.

Granny pictures herself blowing out the candles and the light in her mind faded out.

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