Does "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" portray the five stages of death as presented by Kubbler-Ross as a theme?

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is a rather novel way of approaching this excellent short story. Let us remember that the five stages of death as presented by Kubbler Ross are, in order: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Whilst death is a clear theme in "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," I would question whether her experience of death precisely fits this scheme of acknowledging and accepting our own mortality. We can definitely see the first stage of denial in the way that Granny Weatherall tells of the doctor at the beginning of the story and criticises her daughter, however the stream-of-thought narrative that follows and the many flashbacks and the way in which the past intrudes on the present makes it difficult for us to discern the other stages in this compellling narrative. I don't see any anger or bargaining, or even much depression concerning Granny's impending death. There is very definitely however acceptance at the end of the story when Granny Weatherall decides, symbolically, to give herself up to death in the face of the totality of her second "jilting" by God:

She stretched herself with a deep breath and blew out the light.

This action of blowing out the light is of course representative of Granny Weatherall's acceptance of her own death and her own embracing of dying. The story does not really seem to be focussed on one person's grappling with death, but is actually a comment on the nature of death and the way that it can be compared to a "jilting" in the way that it is actually an awesome darkness and loneliness.

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question