“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” is a story of sadness and gloom which encumbers human soul at death. Katherine Anne Porter writes this story from the perspective of a dying old woman, Granny Weatherall. In her deathbed, the old woman’s mind is clouded with many fond memories, especially about her and the family, but a single bad memory of being jilted by her first lover the day of their planned wedding sours her spirit. The fond memories of Granny Weatherall’s long life involve her personal battles she had won. It is stated about her that, “It had been a hard pull, but not too much for her. … Sometimes she wanted to see John again and point to them and say, Well, I didn’t do so badly, did I?” (Porter). As a widow, after her husband died earlier on in life, she had managed to raise her children, who are now married sons and daughters. She is evidently fond of the good things she did all on herself for her family owing to the way she expresses her desire to ask her children of how they thought she had lived “tomorrow.” The tomorrow which she thinks of would, however, find her dead.
Granny Weatherall is reconciled with the idea of death, but, at the final moment, the reality becomes a scary ordeal. Concerning her strong resolve to embrace death, it is stated that “…she had once and for all got over the idea of dying for a long time. Now she couldn’t be worried.” However, as the final moment approaches and she seeks in vain for a sign from God, she loses her guard and gasps, “Oh, no, there’s nothing more cruel than this – I’ll never forgive it” (Porter). She goes into eternity feeling betrayed by God, just as she had been betrayed by her groom George during the wedding day. It is certain that she seeks a sign from God to get reassured she would get to heaven since, earlier in the story, she reminisces:
“What does a woman do when she has put on the white veil and set out the white cake for a man and he doesn’t come? … That was hell, she knew hell when she saw it. For sixty years she had prayed against remembering him and against losing her soul in the deep pit of hell, and now the two things were mingled in one” (Porter).
The salvation of the woman remains subject to speculation up to the final breath. Given that the idea that hell engulfs her as she sinks into death, the reader feels the desperation. The initial betrayal she had suffered from George’s departure seems insignificant to her at the final moment. Her prayerfulness and even the presence of a priest, which does not avail her desire for a sign from God, merge perfectly into the metaphor of wounded vanity she envisioned herself to have suffered from the wedding day jilt and she dies in despair.
Just like any person who purges her soul in preparation of death, “Granny felt easy about her soul. … She had her secret comfortable understanding with a few favorite saints who cleared a straight road to God for her” (Porter). The reader can identify with the betrayal the granny savors as images of hell float on her imagination just at the moment she is ready to let her soul be ushered into glory. She is unable to get into terms with death as she waits the time when she can be certain she is going into glory. She probably thinks confessing good deeds would bring back God to her side as she beseechingly says,“I meant to finish the alter cloth and send six bottles of wine to Sister Borgia for her dyspepsia” (Porter). However, God, who has been personified as a groom does not show up.
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