Perhaps the greatest differences between Katherine Anne Porter's "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" and a typical fairy tale are the plot structures, the main characters, and the denouements.
In the traditional fairy tale, the personages are often stock characters, or characters of limited traits. However, Granny Weatherall is not the person that she seems to her children and others around her. Granny has, like her name, been through much and survived: she has been jilted, her second husband has died, and her children are all adults of some age. But, to her children she has appeared independent and strong.
Granny Weatherall's character also does not follow the usual plot line. For instance, if she were a character in a fairy tale, when she falls in love with John, he should become her "prince" and she will live happily ever after. However, Granny's thoughts run in a stream of consciousness as she remembers how she always has put things in order, how she plans to go through old love letters that she has saved, how she wishes she could again see George, and, ironically, have Cornelia tell him that she has forgotten him, and how she desires to see Hapsy as well as how she needs to divide her possessions. In short, Granny's mind jumps from present to future, to past, and back to the present.
In most fairy tales, the complication always has a resolution--a happy one, at that--that punishes the bad and rewards the good, who lives happily ever after. On the other hand, Porter's story ends with a character who is unprepared for the denouement. For, she has not resolved her conflicts, having thoughts to the end of her first love, George, as she finds herself dying, a point of light in the darkness that is she:
For the second time there was no sign. Again no bridegroom and the priest in the house. She could not remember any other sorrow because this grief wiped them all away. Oh, no, there's nothing more cruel than this--I'll never forgive it. She stretched herself with a deep breath and blew out the light.
For Granny Weatherall, who reviews in her mind all that is important to her, there is no "happily ever after." Death comes for her, unprepared and incomprehensible.
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