Religious Imagery in "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"
Authors sometimes include hidden messages in their writings. This allows the reader to conceive many different ideas about the subject, causing them to think deeper than just the surface meaning of the story. A prime example of this is Katherine Anne Porter's short story "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall", written in mostly first person with some third person narrative and using the stream of consciousness technique. Porter uses several different religious images, e.g., clouds, visions, and light to emphasize the process of dying.
In the Christian religion, clouds, fog, and smoke usually symbolize confusion or the unknown. The first time Granny Weatherall uses this type of imagery is when she recalls walking by the creek. The narrator says, "A fog rose over the valley, she saw it marching across the creek swallowing the trees and moving up the hill like an army of ghosts" (Porter 537). This sentence creates an eerie feeling by using dark words such as swallowing and ghosts. Granny uses this imagery again while remembering the devastating experience of being left at the alter by her fiancé. A flurry of black fume emerged and enclosed it, crawled up and above into the vivid meadow where everything was planted so cautiously in organized rows. That was misery; she knew misery when she saw it. For years she had prayed against recollection of him and in opposition to losing her spirit in the bottomless hollow of hell, and now the two things were combined in one and the notion of him was a foggy blur from hell that crawled in her head when she had just got free of Doctor Harry and was attempting to relax a moment (538). The idea of smoke and dark clouds again gives off a negative vibe and emphasizes the pain and embarrassment Granny suffered on her would-be wedding day.
Most followers of Christianity believe that death will reunite us with loved ones that have already passed away. On her death...
Cited: Porter, Katherine Anne. "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall". Literature Reading and Writing with Critical Strategies. Steven Lynn, ed. NY: Pearson/Longman, 2004. 535-541.
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