The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

by

Katherine Anne Porter

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Themes and Colors
Order and Control Theme Icon
Death and Old Age vs. Life and Youth Theme Icon
Female Strength Theme Icon
Religion vs. Humanity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Order and Control

Since being jilted at the altar sixty years ago, Granny Weatherall has found peace in carefully controlling her life, creating order and structure for herself and her family. Now, on her deathbed, she is afraid of dying, but she reassures herself through small acts of control, such as making a will and organizing her possessions. However, Granny’s attempts at control are no match for death: she dies much more quickly than she was expecting, and…

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Death and Old Age vs. Life and Youth

Although “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” is a story about a death, it is also, by consequence, a story about life. Porter deliberately juxtaposes life and death, and old age and youth, so that each emphasizes the other. The story acknowledges the fear and sadness that comes with death and old age, but also makes a point of emphasizing all of the rich experiences of life that come before death, encouraging the reader to appreciate…

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Female Strength

Porter’s strongest female influence while growing up was her grandmother, and several of her stories, including “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” feature a strong grandmotherly protagonist. Granny was able to face the humiliation and heartbreak of having her fiancé jilt her at the altar and still go on to lead a very successful life as wife, mother, and caregiver. Even after her later (and kinder) husband John dies, Granny pushes herself on to maintain her…

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Religion vs. Humanity

Porter was highly critical of religion at the time of writing “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall.” She had abandoned Roman Catholicism when she divorced her first husband, a Catholic who was physically abusive to her. Her views are reflected very clearly in the story, with God himself featured as the second and cruelest of Granny Weatherall’s jilters, failing to give her a sign of reassurance when she needs it most. In the moments before…

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