Analysis Of The Protagonist's Character In The Jilting Of Granny Weatherall

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When the person is in the moment where the boundary between life and death just like a heavy rock hading on very thin hair rope, the unconscious part of the mind which used to be pain and suffering buried deep down in the grave of forgotten in order to keep the pain away from life one again revives to the conscious state. Katherine Anne Porter cleverly creates a character Granny Weatherall in the story “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” who has a very complex inner character, suffering from many tragedies and pains in her past, so she is a beautiful example for psychoanalysis. In her deathbed, her past once again unveils itself and makes her stream of thought mixing between continuous and unconscious that leads to her plant for the journey to death which she is preparing it for twenty years become only doubt and unprepared.

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Granny appears at very strong and rigid women. The absence of a man in Granny’s life turns her to be an independent woman. Her husband died at a very young age and left her with five young children. She raised her children along and she has done many incredible things which are unthinkable for women such as fencing 100 acres of land, managing her family through the toughest moments “setting up nights with sick horses and sick negroes and sick children”. Because of her achievement, Granny becomes a self-iterator. She refuses other people’s help and does not want to listen to their opinions. When doctor Harry comes to take care of her health, she said: “Leave a well woman alone”, she is repealing the facts that she is sick and needs help. She hates to think that Cornelia things she needs help because she is so weak and dying. She does not want to be treated like someone who needs attention. In her mind, she says “Don’t cross her, let her have her way, she’s eighty years old,” eighty years is a long time that the woman likes her has gone through everything that the human being could have. No one should have told her what to do. She still has an idea of owning her own life without help from everyone. She loves the idea of she had done a better job then Corellia in keeping the house and doing more works. She does what she thinks necessary not like Corellia has to ask for what to do. Her son Jimmy still comes to ask her advice for his business. She keeps her world under her control, she admitted: “It was good to have everything clean and folded away”, but she had also “folded away” or suppressed her painful feelings along with everything else. In sixty years, she has created a perfect life in which she can finally feel like she is the master of her destiny. Granny had dreams and expectations of how she wanted her life to go. She wanted it to proceed the way she had planned. However, it is just the illusion which she wants to believe in. Through all her recalling events and emotions, the lacking of happiness is clearly. She is only feeling regretful, but not happy in her life. At the age of sixty, she already thinks that her life should end there, but now after twenty years at eighty years old Granny finally experiences the tragedy of her life and she realizes that she is not ready at any meaning. The more nostalgic feeling she has to the past, the greater her unconscious become her awareness.

Granny was the victim of jilting that her fiancé George ran away on her wedding day. It is like a stab of a knife in her heart and the result is a wound that never heals. In order to keep going, she has to lock that painful emotion in her deepest state of mind. She thought the would in her heart are healed by forgetting and time. However, in her last moment on a dying bed, “the memory was being squeezed out of it”, the memory which she believes gone forever, just haunts in her mind like it happened yesterday. She never forgets George for day in sixty years. In fact, in furry and desperate, she tells her daughter Cordelia to “Find him and be sure to tell him I forgot him…Tell him I was given back everything he took away and more”. She is denying the truth that she truly is not over George and has not forgotten the past. The fact that George is what Granny is thinking about in her last moments of life just makes her story more tragedy. Even though she later married John, George’s position in her heart never changes. No matter how much it may have hurt, she never forgot her first love. Moreover, John’s love for her seems not to the love she seeking for. She said “Something not given back…” she admitted that he never loved her back at the way Geoge used to. Granny just wanted to be in love. He couldn’t even give her that. She always longed for happiness in her life. In her conscious action, she chooses to let Geogoe and John be a long-gone memory, but in her unconscious, they still appear at the physical forms that she could not let go. She still has a box with letters from Geoge, John and letters from her to them which she feels shy if her children find out after she passed. 

The root of all these bitten and painful is Granny herself. She could not admit the truth. She hides her feelings because it’s easier for her to continuous living. She denied her health declining because it made her feel weak. She denied that it was her time to die because it made her feel out of control. She didn’t want to accept any responsibility for the pain and anguish she has felt for the past sixty years. She finds any reason to blame another person. She blamed the doctor and Cordelia for annoying her in bed while she was trying to rest. She blamed George for ruining her. The reality is that Granny caused her own misery by holding on to the bad moments in life and not the good she has done. Granny died in the exact opposite way she wanted to go. 

16 August 2021

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