Study Guide

Doctor Harry in The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

By Katherine Anne Porter

Doctor Harry

Doctor Harry just loves to egg Granny on, doesn't he? When she resists his attempts to examine her at the very beginning of the story, he tells her:

Now, now, be a good girl, and we'll have you up in no time. (3)

C'mon, Doctor Harry—you've got to know that calling Granny a good girl is going to drive her bonkers, especially after she's just told you to "take your school books and go" (1). Indeed, it totally gets her going.

Doctor Harry's playful manner actually shows just how skilled he is in caring for his patients. He seems to know that teasing and engaging with Granny is probably a better way to help her spend her last moments than just letting her languish. He tells her:

This is Doctor Harry, Mrs. Weatherall. I never saw you look so young and happy! (38)

What a joker. But, hey, laughter is the best medicine, right?

Like Cornelia, Doctor Harry also helps us understand just how out of it Granny is. Right from the get go, his presence gives us a clue to the altered state of mind Granny is experiencing, as she observes:

…Doctor Harry floated like a balloon around the foot of the bed. He floated and pulled down his waistcoat and swung his glasses on a cord. (6)

A floating balloon doctor? Yikes.

Later in the story, when Doctor Harry makes that wisecrack about Granny looking so young, she appears to respond to him, but then we're immediately told that "she thought she spoke up loudly, but no one answered" (40). At this point, it's pretty clear that Granny's ability to communicate is deteriorating big time.

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