Study Guide

The Jilting of Granny Weatherall "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"

By Katherine Anne Porter

"The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"

  • Granny lies in bed as Doctor Harry tries to take her pulse. She insists that she's not sick and starts insulting the poor guy, telling him to "take your schoolbooks and go" (1). Burn.
  • We're told that Granny feels like her bones are floating around inside her, and that Doc Harry looks like he's floating around. Um…that doesn't sound normal. Maybe Granny isn't as well as she thinks she is.
  • Granny decides she's just going to chill in bed for a little while. She closes her eyes and hears the doctor whispering about her to her daughter Cornelia. This really ticks her off.
  • Granny thinks a bit about Cornelia and mumbles something. Cornelia asks if she needs anything. Granny basically tells her to get lost.
  • Oh man, Granny has a lot to do the next day, she thinks. She especially wants to get rid of a box of old love letters in the attic. What if her kids find them after she dies? Ack!
  • Granny's thoughts drift to death. Yeah, cheery. But, hey, she's eighty years old and lying sick in bed. If there's ever a time to think about death, this is probably a good time.
  • Granny assures us she's totally come to terms with death. Yay?
  • Granny calls for Cornelia and asks her to bring her a hot toddy. Looks like Granny's going to live it up in her remaining time on earth.
  • What? A hot toddy? Cornelia's not too sure about the idea. Granny figures Cornelia takes the request as one more sign that her mother has totally lost it.
  • Granny reflects some more about Cornelia and her other children, Lydia and Jimmy, who both still rely on her for advice. See? She's not some useless old lady, she thinks.
  • She imagines how weird it would be to see her late husband John again. We learn that after he died, Granny got a job digging postholes. That doesn't sound like fun.
  • Warning: Things get a little weird for a few paragraphs. Granny goes back to thinking about everything she wants to do the next day and she ends up having this random memory of lighting lamps with her kids. Then she says a little prayer and spouts some advice about picking fruit.
  • Granny recalls an image of herself all decked out in a white veil as she's setting out a wedding cake. Everything is perfect…except that the dude she's supposed to be marrying never shows up. Yup, Granny was jilted.
  • She dwells on how horrible it felt to be left at the altar.
  • Cornelia interrupts Granny's thoughts by asking how she feels.
  • Granny says the names of her other children. Cornelia tells her that they're on their way.
  • Poor Cornelia really seems to be struggling to hold it together. She kneels down and puts her head on Granny's pillow and seems to be crying, or as Granny observes "her features were swollen and full of little puddles."
  • Granny asks Cornelia whose birthday it is. This disturbs Cornelia even more. Granny is really out of it.
  • Cornelia tells Granny that the doctor has arrived. Him again? He was just there five minutes ago, Granny says. Geez.
  • Cornelia tells her that, no, the last time he was there was in the morning. It's now night. Uh-oh, Granny really does seem to be losing it.
  • Cornelia tells Granny that they're going to give her a shot. Stay tuned for some intense hallucinations.
  • Granny thinks about someone named Hapsy, who she thinks she sees holding a baby. Then (in her mind) Granny becomes Hapsy, and the baby turns into Hapsy. Then Hapsy melts. Pretty trippy.
  • Cornelia asks Granny if she needs anything.
  • Uh, yeah, she does need something, Granny thinks. She needs to see that George jerk who stood her up at her own wedding. But it's not because she's still holding a candle for him. She just wants to rub it in his face how great her life turned out despite the whole jilting thing.
  • Cornelia tells Granny that Father Connolly is there. Ugh. Father Connolly's presence reminds Granny of George the Jilter since he was the one who was supposed to marry them.
  • Memory lane again: Granny recalls images of her children and suggests that Hapsy was one of her daughters who died at a young age.
  • Granny tries her hardest to communicate with Cornelia and Father Connolly, but they don't really seem to understand what she's saying.
  • Granny has yet another flashback to the jilting jerk.
  • Father Connolly says something in Latin and starts tickling Granny's feet. She's totally offended, thinking that he's up to some hanky-panky (psst, he's probably just anointing her feet as part of some Last Rites ritual).
  • Granny's eyes are closed, but she can sense light flashing and feels a "roaring."
  • Granny's other children, Lydia and Jimmy, have arrived—just in the nick of time. Granny thinks to herself that they've come to watch her die, but wait…she can't die just yet, she still has so much she needs to do, she thinks.
  • It's all good, though. She's going to get to see Hapsy again, after all, she thinks (another clue that Hapsy is the child she lost).
  • Granny focuses on the blue light of Cornelia's lampshade, which keeps getting dimmer. And then, we're told that she stares at a point of light "that was herself." Sure, a little confusing, but we'll give the lady a break since she's dying.
  • Granny thinks one more time about (guess what?) being jilted.
  • Finally, we're told, "she stretched herself with a deep breath and blew out the light." It's probably safe to assume that means she's gone.

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