The Jilting of Granny Weatherall Questions and Answers
by Katherine Anne Porter

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How is "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" a stream of consciousness story?

One could say that "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" is indeed a stream of consciousness story in that this narrative technique is used throughout to convey what's happening in the title character's head. As Granny is fast approaching death, it's inevitable that her thoughts will become somewhat fractured and disjointed. Stream of consciousness is the appropriate literary technique to use in such cases.

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As a literary style, stream of consciousness offers the uninterrupted and nonlinear thoughts of the story's narrator. Objectivity plays no role, as all events are filtered through the flow of the narrator's perceptions.

In "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," the titular character shapes the narrative beginning with her description of Doctor Harry, what she thinks of him, what she says to him, and how he appears to her. The story unfolds as an interior monologue punctuated with things she says aloud to the doctor and to her daughter, Cornelia, and things that she hears them say aloud.

As Ellen Weatherall approaches death, the present becomes increasingly interrupted by events and conversations from her past. Her thoughts turn toward resolutions; she wants the man who jilted her to know that she had found a better man and had a house full of children with him. She wants to reunite with her deceased daughter, Hapsy, and she wants to convey her final wishes to her daughter and the priest....

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winterfox | Student

Yes, you could say that the Jilting of Granny Weatherall is a stream of conciousness. But I would like to add that The Jilting of Granny Weatherall is told from the 3rd person perspective of an 80 year old woman who's bad memories comeback to haunt her at the end of life. She isn't losing conciousness so much as going delerious in bed.

epollock | Student

keebla21,

"The Jilting of Granny Weatherall by Katherine Porter is a classic study in "stream of consciousness." The literary term refers to events chronicled not in a chronologicsl or linear manner, but the way the character perceives things through their inner thoughts. This is often applied to works where characters are either dying, mentally ill, or under great sense where their "thoughts jump from one idea to the next without pattern or motive" (classic definition). 

Ellen Weatherall is fiery, used to having her way, and unwilling to be treated like the sick old woman she is, for a grandmother who has "weathered it all."

With its frequent excursions into the rambling consciousness of its dying protagonist, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” gives us a classic picture of what it means to have lived fully.

The events of the story are reported in the third person by a narrator who can see into Granny Weatherall’s mind. When Granny's lucid, the story proceeds in chronological order.

In the story’s most interesting assages—especially in paragraphs 17–18 and 24–31—Porter uses stream of consciousness with great skill to present the randomly mingled thoughts and impressions that move through Granny’s dying mind. By fragmenting Granny’s thoughts, by having her shuttle back and forth between reality and fantasy, by distorting her sense of the passage of time, the author manages to persuade us that the way Granny experiences dying must be nearly universal.