What does the name Weatherall have to do with Granny's nature (or her life story)? What other traits or qualities do you find in her?

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The name "Weatherall" implies exactly what it seems to imply. Granny seems to have, over the course of her life, "weathered all" of life's hardships and disappointments. She recalls various diseases that she has suffered through, as well as the work that she has had to complete since her husband...

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The name "Weatherall" implies exactly what it seems to imply. Granny seems to have, over the course of her life, "weathered all" of life's hardships and disappointments. She recalls various diseases that she has suffered through, as well as the work that she has had to complete since her husband died so young. Similar to Eudora Wetly's Phoenix Jackson, Granny Weatherall seems to fall within an archetype of elderly women whose tenacity and grit seem almost supernatural. She can take on any hardship life throws at her and take it in stride; however, the reason for this is that she has suffered a hardship and humiliation to which nothing else can compare, and everything else that she suffers seems trivial in the eternal wake of it.

When Weatherall was to be married to her first fiancé, George, he left her at the alter, "jilting" her. This destroyed Granny at a very early age and, even if she never talks about it, is an event that consumes her every thought and action. This is the one event that she is truly unable to weather, because it does kill her in the end. When Granny reaches out for divine grace during her death, she believes that God himself has jilted her as well.

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Ellen Weatherall has truly weathered all the troubles life has thrown at her. The verb, to weather, describes the action of enduring and coming safely through some hardship or trouble. She talks about surviving "milk leg and double pneumonia" decades prior when the doctor comes to see her. She also felt death approaching when she turned sixty, so she made "farewell trips" to her kids’ and grandkids’ homes before the onset of a "long fever." She survived that too. Now, on her deathbed at eighty years-old, she recalls how young her husband, John, was when he died. She’d had to fence "in a hundred acres once, digging the post holes herself and clamping the wires with just a Negro boy to help." Granny Weatherall has been changed, certainly, by her experiences—some of them tragic—but she has weathered all the hardships and trying times. She sat "up nights with sick horses and sick Negroes and sick children" and "hardly ever lost one of them." She has been so strong, has had such perseverance and grit. She even recalls having weathered being "jilted"—left at the altar—by her first fiancé, George.

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Granny’s last name, Weatherall, suggests that she is resilient and able to overcome obstacles and hardships in her life. She has the ability to weather whatever comes her way.  For example, when her husband, John, dies young, Granny must raise the children on her own. However, the one incident in her life that still haunts her is when she is left at the altar by her first love, George.  Although Granny went on to marry and have children, she hasn’t been able to totally get over the embarrassment of being jilted. In her dying moments, she even rejects the priest giving her last rites because it reminds her of being left alone with the priest at the altar.  The inability to forgive George causes her to be jilted once again, but this time by God at the end of her life.  She asks God to give her a sign that she will be saved, and God doesn’t give her that sign.  She dies remembering only the extreme grief she had because she could not forgive George for an incident that happened 60 years ago.  In essence, Granny weathered all the grief and sorrow the jilting caused her throughout her life and never let go of it.  This grief left her paralyzed, a theme shown in the story through the setting in the tight confines of Granny’s bedroom. She is no longer able to act or express herself well in the final throes of death even though she wants to put her affairs in order before she dies.  It’s too late, however, for Granny has wasted a lot of time drowning in the memories of what could have been.

Other characteristics that describe Granny are that she is ornery, feisty, and bossy.  She harasses the doctor and her daughter, Cornelia, for doting over her too much.  She “plagues” Cornelia and plays with her emotions and feelings.  She is also angry and seems to take it out on Cornelia the most. Cornelia is George’s daughter; and therefore, Granny blames Cornelia for some of her misery. Granny does show strength when she tries to talk herself into getting over George.  She says, “Plenty of girls get jilted.  You were jilted, weren’t you?  Then stand up for it.”  Even though in her mind she wants to get over George, Granny never does.  At the end of the story and with her last breath, she refuses to forgive George, and it is her downfall.

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