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Memories In Katherine Anne Porter's The Jilting Of Granny Weatherall

1540 words - 6 pages

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). This symbolizes Granny's strength of character, her mentality of being able to handle any curve in life's road. Her children represent her strength, and she wishes to raise them many times over because they provided her with the consistent happiness she so desired: "Sometimes she wanted to see John again and point to them and say, 'Well, I didn't do so badly, did I?'" (3).

She sometimes thought John would no longer recognize her; it had been so long that "he would be a child beside her if she saw him now" (3). She doubts herself; she doesn't think John would recognize her but reassures herself that his love and understanding would require no explanations of her. This pride she derives from John and her children makes her "jiltings" seem more like a blessing: "It made her feel like rolling up her sleeves and putting the whole place to rights again" (3). There were still so many things she could do for her children; she didn't want to be taken yet: "that would have to wait. That was for tomorrow" (3). She was telling death, "tomorrow" not today.

Her unpleasant memories were now beginning to flow out of her: "For sixty years she had prayed against remembering George, against losing her soul in the deep pit of...

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