26 pages 52 minutes read

Katherine Anne Porter

The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1929

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Symbols & Motifs


In “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” Hapsy serves as a powerful motif illustrating the story’s themes of Denial and the Human Tendency to Avoid Painful Truths, and the Contemplation of Mortality. Hapsy’s death in childbirth is not explicitly mentioned in the text. However, readers infer this occurrence from Granny’s fragmented memories and visions of her absent daughter as she approaches the moment of her death. Like her jilting by George, Hapsy’s passing is an event Granny attempts to obscure from her mind. While she recalls her daughter going into labor, her memory refuses to go further.

Granny’s longing to see Hapsy again permeates the story. While her other children congregate at her deathbed, she reflects, “It was Hapsy she really wanted” (38). The promise of being reunited with Hapsy in the afterlife is a source of comfort to Granny Weatherall as she contemplates her mortality. However, God’s absence in the protagonist’s final moment calls into question whether her wish will be fulfilled.

Light and Darkness

In “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” the symbolism of light and darkness contributes to the author’s exploration of hope, religious faith, and mortality.