The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

by Katherine Anne Porter
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What evidence do you see in the story that Granny Weatherall is hallucinating and becoming delirious in "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"?

The stream of consciousness narrative allows Granny Weatherall's increasingly muddied and unfocussed thinking to be expressed and her disorientation to be revealed.

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It is important to recognise the masterful way in which Katherine Anne Porter uses the stream of consciousness narrative to show the increasingly muddied and unfocussed thinking of Granny Weatherall as she slides ever closer to death. This allows the way that her mind moves from one thought or memory to another to be expressed and her disorientation to be revealed. Consider the following example:

What was it I set out to do? she asked herself intently, but she could not remember. A fog rose over the valley, she saw it marching across the creek swallowing the trees and moving up the hill like an army of ghosts. Soon it would be at the near edge of the orchard, and then it was time to go in and light the lamps. Come in, children, don't stay out in the night air.

Notice here how Granny's question and her inability to remember leads her to a memory of fog which in turn leads her to the happy memory of the lighting of the lamps at twilight, surrounded by her children. The narrative, just like Granny Weatherall's mind, skips from one topic to another in free association that mirrors her hallucinated and deirious state. Note to how in this quote the fog could symbolise the growing darkness of death.

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