In The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, Catherine Ann Porter shares the story of an eighty year old woman who has lived a long life filled with personal triumphs and tragedies. Having been left at the altar by the love of her life at a young age, Ellen “Granny” Weatherall, whose name appropriately represents her character, learned to put up walls of protection around herself and her family early in life lest she fall to the same hurt once again. These protective measures and the mindset that seems to come along with said measures contribute to Granny’s bold and abrasive personality which is displayed quite often throughout the story. Granny prided herself in her ability to maintain her home and family without the aid of a man, having been voluntarily left by one man and having the other taken by death at an early age. One finds, however, that Granny was “given back everything he [George] took and more” (Porter, 86) through her second husband, children, and home.
Although Porter does take us through assorted pieces of Granny’s early life, the story actually takes place on the protagonist’s death bead. The reader finds that despite Granny’s pride and certain ways of living, she has some key regrets and mistakes which she revisits and realizes shortly before dying. Particularly, Granny realizes that she had not been reimbursed entirely of what George had taken from her those many years ago—she still had ultimately lost her virtue. Nearly sixty years later and only moments from death, Granny Weatherall realizes that she will have been jilted twice in her lifetime, not once. Granny, despite her noble personal morals and attachment to the Catholic faith, did not make it into the heaven she has longed for and will not see her beloved family (Hapsy) who has already passed on. As the parable from Matthew 25:1-12 alludes, those without virtue will find themselves left alone in death, not taken away by the bridegroom into the promise land. Because Granny Weatherall lost her virtue, was prepared for death at the wrong time, and was foolish in her youth, one can assert that Porter has connected the life of Granny to the parable of the ten virgins.
After remembering, while on her death bed, that she had never regained her virtue, Granny feels that, “It [death] should have been born first, for it was the one she had truly wanted.” (Porter, 86) Granny felt as though death would have been timelier had it came after George left her, because that was all she longed for after having been heartbroken and taken advantage of. Granny gave her virtue away to a man who never took her hand in marriage. Playing on the theme of faith (specifically that of the Catholics,) the idea of losing her virtue as a woman seems very symbolic, especially when Granny has come to meet death.
As the parable of the ten virgins accounts, those virgins who retained virtue and were ready for the bridegroom entered the kingdom of heaven with him while those virgins who were unprepared and...