What effect does the use of stream of consciousness have on the narration in "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have asked lots of questions, so I have edited it down to one question focussing on the general narrative method adopted and how it affects the story. The stream of consciousness narrative method has been selected because with it, the author is able to capture the thoughts of the main character who is dying and therefore confused in her thinking. It is based on free association, which means that the character begins to think of one thing, and that thought triggers off another memory, which in turn can trigger off other memories which may or may not be totally unrelated. For example, consider this free association from the story:

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.

Here we can see how recalling fog at twilight reminds her of calling in the children and lighting the lamps. Thus the narrative method adopted allows us to experience the scattered and incoherent thoughts of a woman on the edge of death as she tries to make sense of what is happening to her and is moved from one memory to another just as a butterfly moves from flower to flower.

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The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

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