The Fearless Granny Weatherall Essay, Research Paper
The Fearless Granny Weatherall
In the short story The Jilting of Granny Weatherall Katherine Anne Porter introduces an
amazing character. As her name suggests, Granny Weatherall has gone through it all during her
eighty years. Over the course of her lifetime she has become the person she is on her death bed.
Granny was not born with her character, but developed it through her relationships. Over a
lifetime a person builds character and becomes recognized by it. This is the case with Ellen
Weatherall, the woman we all know as Granny. From joy to bitter hardships, Granny has
weathered all life has offered in her eighty years. Through her final hours, as she reflects on her
past, the reader can see just how Granny has come to be the woman she is.
The third person limited point of view in this short story provides the ability to view the
world through Granny s eyes. One of the earliest examples of this is in the opening paragraphs
while she is being visited by Doctor Harry. She explains that many years ago she endured a bout
with double pneumonia and milk leg. In the time that she lived, overcoming such illnesses was a
feat. She performed that feat and thus feels superior to the doctor. Strong willed and very
stubborn, she has come to believe that she can beat the odds at anything. A young doctor would
know very little about what she needs. Her orneriness toward the doctor shows that her
orneriness gives her spunk. She may be stubborn, but it is admirable in her old age. When she
was going through the hardest illnesses of her life, he was far from being a doctor. Granny puts
her utmost effort in expressing this to the doctor. The strength shines through, as she needs little
prompting in expressing her feelings.
One of Granny s major character traits is her strength. As Granny watches life go on
around her, she felt a need to be young as well. She remembers the times she had years ago with
children to look after and care for. She made clothes, put food on the table, and kept them out of
trouble. But she was not about to sit back and let her children return the favor. She was the best
at what she did and had done it on her own without much help. After living like that for eighty
years, she was not going to stop anytime soon. Her irritability on her deathbed was not an
attempt to be ornery or aggravating. It was her way of maintaining the spunk that she once had
so much of. Whether it be physical or mental strength, Granny has it and uses it. She recalls her
days of digging fence post holes on her own. She delivered babies in the middle of winter and
spent nights nursing the sick. She could tend and care for whatever or whoever needed it. Why
would she need someone to care for her? As her mind slips back into the present, she sees how
everyone is trying to take care of her. She resents her children s belief that she could not tend to
herself. It was not that Granny did not appreciate the help. After eighty years, she simply saw
little need of it. When her husband died she rose to the demands of her own necessities. A major
event in Granny s life, began the development of her strength and independence. As the stream
of consciousness occurs again, Granny reveals how much of her strength came to be.
At the age of twenty, Granny was jilted at the alter. George, the man she had written so
many letters to and adored, had decided he would be better to go through life without her.
Instead of being devastated, Granny realized that she must make the best of it. She found
strength and was determined to carry on with her life. She was young and knew that her fianc s
choice could not ruin her life. To her advantage, John, a guest at the wedding, took her and made
her his wife. In a matter of weeks, she went from one of the most devastating events in her life to
pure happiness. The jilting built a strength she would carry with her for life. John had told her
that her fianc was no good, that she needed to believe in him. To believe that John was not just
trying to take advantage of her took a great deal of trust. The fact that things worked out between
the two of them was a great accomplishment for Granny. She had great confidence in herself,
and proved that things would be okay. By the age of twenty, Granny had endured one of the
hardest things that anyone could ever go through. If she was to continue to live a happy life, she
had to be strong and support herself. From that point on Granny felt that she could do anything.
She kept that strength with her wherever she went, and she would be taking it to the grave with
her. At eighty she still had the courage of the twenty year old she once was. As time grew short,
she was slowly losing her ability to do everything on her own, but she was determined. In her
mind there was no reason for her to ever be taken care of, she could overcome anything.
As the story progresses, Granny begins to realize that her death is not something within
her power. Death is God s area, and no matter how strong she was, it was his decision. Her
strength no longer focused on surviving, but on being with her children and remembering what
good times they all had. While there were many enjoyable things that went on in her family,
there were also hardships. Throughout her marriage and to her dying day, she had always had a
desire to avoid the lover that had abandoned her. In the end, however, she wishes George could
see how far she had come. To her, his leaving showed that he was a coward and did not trust her.
She wanted to show him how great a family she raised and how good a house she had
maintained. On her deathbed, inside her, was the spunk that she had for so long. She wanted to
let it out to George and prove herself to him. Being physically weak was not stopping her from
proving herself and flaunting the great life she lived.
Granny also had the unfortunate loss of a child during the course of her life. Hapsy, her
daughter, was her pride and joy. Unfortunately, Hapsy died young, and her memory is all that
remains. Granny recalls a time when Hapsy was a child and life was happy. However, while
Granny missed Hapsy terribly, she carried on and raised her family. Throughout her life it
seemed as if people were always taking away something she loved. In every circumstance she
kept the memories she enjoyed and carried on with life. As Granny died, she wanted Hapsy to be
there. Granny was slowly losing her mind, and knew that she would be able to be with Hapsy
soon. Granny was finally becoming prepared to let go.
Eventually Granny was unable to hold out any longer, and began the passing to her new
world. It was a world where she could be with John, see Hapsy, and show old George exactly
what she had made for herself. Even in her final seconds, Granny was certain that someone was
again trying to take something away from her. The sign that she had expected before she passed
was not seen. Perhaps God did not want her. Worse yet, maybe God did not exist. In her final
moments, Granny related this lack of a sign to her abandonment on wedding day. Finally she
was all done up and ready to go, but again the ride was missing. Granny simply did not realize
that the sign she had expected may have been given to her before. Every time something has
been taken from her, she has kept it together and everything has worked out. This would
probably work out too.
In the course of her eighty years, life has thrown its curve balls at Granny Weatherall. In
each case, she has kept her head on straight and gotten by. Her strength has made her believe
that there is nothing she cannot overcome. These times have made Granny her own woman with
one-of-a-kind character. She is confident, spunky, and completely sure that she can steer her ship
through the roughest of seas.