The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

by Katherine Anne Porter

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In "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," how is Granny Weatherall jilted for a second time?

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Granny Weatherall is first jilted by George many years before when he fails to show up for their wedding. On this occasion, she was left alone with a priest and it leaves an indelible mark on her. Throughout the story, Granny—now aged significantly—continues to be haunted by the incident. She thinks over and over again about George, and tries to reassure herself by thinking of her husband Jimmy. She also comforts herself with religion, saying at one point:

"God, for all my life I thank Thee. Without Thee, my God, I could never have done it. Hail, Mary, full of grace. "

In the present, Granny is dying, and she struggles to communicate. Throughout the story, she tries to express various concerns with the people around her. She wants to express frustration with the doctor, for instance. When she realizes she is dying, she recalls how she wants to give her daughter an amethyst set and other unfinished tasks that she will now be unable to do. Granny Weatherall is unable to express her desires. Absence and failed communication reign in her final moments, just as they did as her first jilting. She is not at all ready to die:

"Her heart sank down and down, there was no bottom to death, she couldn’t come to the end of it. 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 fluttered and dwindled."

Granny focuses intently on this "blue light," but it is weakening. This is deeply disturbing to her. She feels that "this darkness would curl around the light and swallow it up." She asks God to give her a sign. However,

[f]or 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.

Granny Weatherall's expectations are failed once again in this second "jilting." She trusted God, and in her eyes, he has abandoned her. Granny waits for him to come for her, to comfort and guide her in death, but he does not come. Just as she was left alone with a priest by George, she is left alone once again by God. At the end, she suffers this horrible pain, this abandonment, that leaves her desolate.

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Although Granny feels jilted by George, the fiance who left her at the alter some sixty years ealier, many believe the jilting that bothered her most was the jilting by God.  Near the age of 20, she was left alone at an alter with a priest. The man she loved never showed up.  After reliving that moment over in her mind many times, Granny is once again faced with lying in a bed alone with only...

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a priest there with her.  She waits for a sign from God in the last lines, yet there is nothing.  She is left with nothing but the unfinished business that she was unable to share with her family in her last moments on earth.

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In "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," how has Granny Weatherall lived to overcome the jilt?  

Your question is interesting because it seems to imply that Granny Weatherall has actually managed to process and deal with her feelings of hurt and rejection about being jilted in her youth. Actually, I believe a careful analysis of the story indicates that she has in no way dealth with her pain and emotions at being jilted, as her focus on this incident in her last hours indicates. One part of the text that clearly points towards this conclusion is when she decides she wants to see the man that jilted her again. Note what Granny Weatherall thinks to herself:

Yes, she had changed her mind after sixty years and she would like to see George. I want you to find George. Find him and be sure to tell him I forgot him. I want him to know I had my husband just the same and my children and my house like any other woman. A good house too and a good husband that I loved and fine children out of him. Better than I hoped for even. Tell him I was given back everything he took away and more.

Clearly this quote shows she has not really forgotten George and what he did to her. Why would she feel the need to send him a message if this were so? The above quote suggests that Granny feels the need to get back at George for what he did to her, but it is obvious that Granny feels that there was something missing in her life. Therfore, I don't think this excellent story suggests that Granny Weatherall has overcome the pain of being jilted. It is still very much with her, and she bears it up to her death.

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