Lying on a deathbed can conjure up conflicting emotions that may conflict, astound, or comfort anyone lying in that position. For some, coming face-to-face with the end of their time on earth can be met with embrace and acceptance while for others the imminent approach of death may be more like a rewind series of regrets and lost chances. In Katherine Anne Porter’s short story, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”, the protagonist is an 80-year-old woman lying on her deathbed in her daughter Cornelia’s house. She spends her last minutes reminiscing about her late husband, her jilted lover from sixty years previous, and her child who died in infancy. Porter is able to create a connection with the readers to Granny Weatherall to illicit emotions such as sympathy, sorrow, and joy towards the protagonist. Porter uses several styles and techniques to convey the unique and lonely character of Granny Weatherall including stream-of-consciousness, metaphors, and symbolism. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Right from the beginning of the story, readers are able to follow Granny Weatherall’s thought processes through the author’s use of stream-of-consciousness, which is a literary device that allows reader’s to know what the internal monologue of a character is so that their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and opinions are known even though in the story they are not directly speaking them aloud. This can be seen early on when Doctor Harry is checking Granny Weatherall and she is expressing her dissatisfaction with the way the Doctor dresses and his general presence near her. For example, in her stream-of-conscious, she thinks about the Doctor as “The brat ought to be in knee breeches. Doctoring around the country with spectacles on his nose” (Porter, 1930). She uses this device throughout the story including when she expresses her annoyance at Cornelia for tip-toeing around her, whispering just out of ear’s reach, and treating her like an invalid. The stream-of-consciousness allows the readers to also know that lying on her death bed, her essential last thought is of George, the man who jilted her on her wedding day sixty years ago. The readers can feel genuine pity for Granny Weatherall as her stream-of-consciousness reveal how she hardened herself and tried to move on from that very significant event in her life.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
In addition to stream-of-consciousness, Porter scatters various metaphors and similes throughout her story to help paint a visual picture of who Granny Weatherall is and what she is feeling at the time of her death. One particular powerful metaphor that Porter uses is the reference of hell to the period of time when Granny Weatherall was left at the alter with her white dress, white veil, and white cake put on. “There was the day, the day, but a whirl of dark smoke rose and covered it…that was hell, she knew hell when she saw it” (Porter, 1930). There is also various similes used throughout the story to help describe events, objects, or interactions throughout the characters. When Father Connolly is attending to Granny Weatherall, Cornelia’s voice is described as “staggered and jumped like a cart in a bad road” (Porter, 1930).
Finally, in the story, Porter also uses symbolism as a literary device to represent themes and ideas. Some of the important main themes in the story include death, denial, acceptance, and regret. Porter uses colors throughout the story to symbolize emotions and themes. For instance, she describes the day Granny Weatherall is left at the alter by using the colors white to describe her happiness, green to describe the day, and then she jumps to describing the day as a smoky and fiery hell. Another example of symbolism is Porter’s use of light and dark to represent her conscious state and the blurry moments of her illness in between. Granny Weatherall describes seeing her lost child Hapsy as a “gauzy shadow” and the room she is lying in as one with “dark colors with the shadows rising towards the ceiling in long angles” (Porter, 1930). [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
As such, while the short story, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”, is an account of a woman about to die and her attempts to come to terms with it, the author uses various literary devices to help portray this character portrait of an old sick woman. She uses various literary devices such as stream-of-consciousness, metaphors, and symbolism.