When she was two, her mother died during childbirth, so she went to live with her grandmother, Catherine Ann, along with her three siblings and her father. When Porter was eleven, Catherine Ann died, prompting the family to move frequently, often shifting between Texas and Louisiana. As a result, Porter received little formal education beyond elementary school. Koontz was an alcoholic who subjected Porter to extreme physical abuse, and after eight years of marriage, Porter left him to start a career as an actress in Chicago and Texas. The same year she divorced Koontz, Porter contracted tuberculosis.
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Saying there is nothing wrong with her, Granny orders the doctor to leave. He speaks in a condescending tone to her, even after she snaps at him. Closing her eyes, Granny feels as if she is in a hammock. It annoys her that they are talking about her when she is within earshot. Granny thinks about what she has to do tomorrow. She decides that she must hide her letters that George and John had written her.
Granny thinks about death, which she prepared herself for twenty years ago, when she felt that the end of her life was near. Her father, who lived until he was , attributed his longevity to his daily hot toddy, a liquor made from tree sap. Granny asks for a hot toddy and then snaps at Cornelia. It irritates Granny terribly to think that Cornelia is humoring her. Granny considers herself a better housekeeper and harder worker than Cornelia.
She longs for the old days, when her children were small. She imagines showing John how well the children turned out. They are older now than John was when he died. After his death, Granny changed.
She had to fence in acres of land and act as a midwife and nurse. She thinks John would appreciate the way she kept nearly all her patients alive. She remembers lighting the lamps when her children were young. She recalls how they stood close to her, moving away once the frightening dark had been dissipated.
Granny thanks God for his help and begins to say the Hail Mary. She then thinks about the necessity of picking all the fruit and not letting any go to waste.
Granny feels as if her pillow is suffocating her. She remembers the day she was supposed to get married for the first time. Her groom, George, never came to the church. Doctor Harry arrives. Granny makes a witty retort, but when no one answers, she realizes she must not have spoken aloud. The doctor gives her an injection. Granny thinks about Hapsy, the daughter she wants to see the most, and imagines seeing Hapsy holding a baby and greeting her.
Cornelia asks if there is anything she wants to say or anything Cornelia can do. She wants him to know that she has everything he took from her. A terrible pain cuts through her. She believes that after she gives birth to this last baby, she will regain her strength.
Cornelia says that Father Connolly has arrived. Granny thinks about the priest, who cares as much about tea and chatting as he does about the state of her soul and who often tells humorous stories about an Irishman confessing his sins. Granny is not concerned about her soul. She believes that her favorite saints will surely usher her into heaven. She thinks again of her first wedding day when her whole world crumbled and the priest caught her before she fell.
He promised to kill George, but she told him not to. Granny thinks about herself and John comforting the children when they had nightmares and about Hapsy getting ready to deliver her baby. She looks at the room and sees a picture of John in which his eyes, which were blue, have been made to look black. On the bedside table, Granny sees a candle, crucifix, and light with a blue lampshade. The lampshade looks ridiculous to Granny. No one understands what she said. Granny imagines getting into a cart beside a man she knows.
She thinks again of George. She hears thunder and sees lightning. She thinks Hapsy has arrived, but it is Lydia. Jimmy is there too. She feels surprised and unready. She thinks of small, last-minute advice and instructions she wants to give.
She looks for a sign from God, but none comes. This absence is the worst sorrow of all, and she feels she has been jilted again. She dies.
The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
The brat ought to be in knee breeches. Doctoring around the country with spectacles on his nose! Take your schoolbooks and go. I had to go to bed to get rid of her. He floated and pulled down his waistcoat, and swung his glasses on a cord.
The Jilting of Granny Weatherall by Katherine Anne Porter
Themes Themes and Colors Key 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 Death and Old Age vs. Granny is afraid of dying, so she tries to gain control over her situation by treating Doctor Harry like a small child. By belittling the doctor who is looking after her, Granny seeks to diminish her own illness and pretend that nothing is wrong with her health. Hallucinations like these imply that Granny is indeed very ill, despite what she likes to tell herself, and that she is not in control of her own body anymore. Granny once again feels powerless when she hears the doctor and her daughter Cornelia whispering about her in the hallway.