Memories in Katherine Anne Porter's The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

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In Katherine Anne Porter's "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" an old woman's light is slowly fading out and memories from her past are phasing in and out of her head as she lives out her final moments. The times she was "jilted" are pouring out of her memories, releasing themselves and allowing her the peaceful death she so desires. She has good memories: memories of her children, memories of her husband, and memories of her silly father: "Her father had lived to be one hundred and two years old and had drunk a noggin of strong hot toddy on his last birthday. He told the reporters it was his daily habit, and he owed his long life to that" (Porter 2). But it is the bad memories she's letting go of, the memories of her many "jiltings". Her children surround her as she dies, floating about like balloons above her. But she doesn't want to go yet she has so much she still wants to do. Granny Weatherall had been through a difficult life, full of hardships that shaped her into a strong, fiercely independent woman. Because she had lived past sixty and was now eighty, she had "[gotten] over the idea of dying [long ago]" (2). She wanted to live to be one hundred and two like her father and play jokes on the reporters. Besides, there was "always so much to be done" (1); why go now when she has so much to offer her children and grandchildren?

Her children are her happiest memory: "Granny wished the old days were back again and the children young and everything to be done over" (2). Despite going through such hardships in raising her children, she wished to do it again; suggesting that despite her many injustices she did eventually find love, peace, and reason within her life. It had been difficult "but not too hard for her" (3)....

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... her children, and gave people hope to see through the darkness. The theme truly is "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger". Granny is humanity. Humanity's need to give reason and purpose to life sets us up for disappointment. It is human nature to expect, whether good or bad, there is reason for our existence that someone will always be there to save us, especially in something as final as death. Granny surely believed her "jiltings" would be corrected upon her death because of her religious beliefs. But even in death, life tries to break you, and even in death you can find strength, the strength to blow out your own candle.

And, just as life is devoid of reason, death is no exception.

Works Cited

Porter, Katherine Anne. "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall." Flowering Judas and other Stories. New York : Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1958 180-187
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