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Katherine Anne Porter

By Jim Murray,2014-05-28 14:27
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Katherine Anne Porter

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     Katherine Anne Porter

     Katherine Anne Porter

     She is remembered as one of America??s best short-story writers, she is the fourth of five children of her family. In 1892, when Porter is two years old, her mother died two months after giving birth to her last child. Porter is raised by her father and grandmother. Her grandmother died when she is 11, but her strong character provided a model for grandmother in her stories.

     In 1930, she published her first short story collection ??the Flowering Judas and Other Stories??. An expended edition of this collection was published in 1935 and received many supports, it assured her place in American literature. In 1962, ??The Ship of Fool??. She died at the age of 90, and her ashes were buried next to her mother.

     Theme

     Betrayal God and Religion Death

     Betrayal

     The idea of betrayal is a central theme underlying many of Porter??s stories. At the heart of ??The Jilting of Granny Weatherall?? are Granny??s memories of her betrayal by George, who abandoned her at the altar some sixty years earlier.

     God and Religion

     Many readers have suggested that the ultimate betrayal of Granny involves God and that the story is primarily a portrait of a woman at the end of her life facing a devastating spiritual crisis. When Father Connolly comes to visit Granny Weatherall on her deathbed, she is cordial to him. It is stated that Granny ??felt easy about her soul.?? Yet, his arrival seems to trigger Granny??s most vivid and painful memories of the day sixty years earlier when she was left by her fiance.

     Death

     Granny Weatherall struggles against death, and though she lacks the strength to get out of bed, denies even being ill. The final image in the story ?ª of Granny blowing out a candle ?ª evokes the notion that her life is coming to an end. Yet, there is no sense of closure to Granny??s life, no sense that the conflicts raised in her memories have been resolved. The final realization in the story is that ??there was no bottom to death, she couldn??t come to the end of it.??

     Stream Of Consciousness

     Definition of stream of consciousness The Narrative Style of the Stream of Consciousness in The Jilting of Granny Weatherall Examples of stream of consciousness

     What??s the stream of consciousness?

     Stream of consciousness writing is usually regarded as a special form of interior monologue and is characterized by associative leaps in syntax and punctuation that can make the prose difficult to follow, tracing a character's fragmentary thoughts and sensory feelings.

     Stream of consciousness and interior monologue are distinguished from dramatic monologue, where the speaker is addressing an audience or a third person, and is used chiefly in poetry or drama. In stream of consciousness, the speaker's thought processes are more often depicted as overheard in the mind (or addressed to oneself) and is primarily a fictional device.

     The term was first introduced to the field of literary studies from that of psychology by philosopher and psychologist William James, brother of writer Henry James. Stream of consciousness is characterized by a flow of thoughts and images, which may not always appear to have a coherent structure or cohesion. The plot line may weave in and out of time and place, carrying the reader through the life span of a character or further along a timeline to incorporate the lives (and thoughts) of characters from other time periods.

     The Narrative Style of the Stream of Consciousness in The Jilting of Granny Weatherall(ÒâÊ?Á?ÐðÊö?ç?ñ)

     Early in her career, Porter came to be admired as an innovative and masterful stylist. In The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, she uses experimental, modernist narrative techniques in creating a moving and believable portrait of an eighty-year-old woman on her death bed.

     One of the most striking stylistic aspects of The Jilting of Granny Weatherall is the unusual narrative perspective. Though the story is written in the third person, its narrative point of view is extremely close to that of the central character, Granny Weatherall. The story is told through stream-of-consciousness. Granny??s thoughts are presented in a spontaneous fashion, as if readers had access to her thoughts at the moment each one occurs to her. Porter conveys what it is like to be an eighty-year-old woman whose mind tends to wander by enabling readers to experience some of the same confusion Granny feels.

     Since Granny sometimes mistakes one daughter for another, for example, the characters in the story sometimes dissolve and become other characters. Because Granny??s awareness slips back and forth between her present reality and her remembered past, events in the story are presented as they occur to Granny rather than chronologically

     Examples of stream of consciousness

     Virginia Woolf's ?ºTo the Lighthouse (1927) James Joyce's?ºUlysses (1918) William Faulkner's?ºThe Sound and the Fury (1929) Marcel Proust?ºIn Search of Lost Time( ?? la recherche du temps perdu )1913 ?C 1927

     Analysis of Character Granny Weatherall

     Repeatedly deserted Brave Charitable, capable General Kind, optimistic and diligent

     Analysis of Weatherall

     Granny Weatherall, a character in the work of American writer Katherine Anne Porter, has long been regarded by previous literary critics as a weather-beaten woman who has been repeatedly deserted. This thesis approaches the fate of Granny Weatherall from a new angle, and reveals a new woman who tries to change her own destiny through struggling against the hardships of life.

     Firstly, Granny Weeatherall is a very brave woman. Granny Weatherall has been deserted four times through her whole life. The first time is on Weatherall??s wedding ceremony. At that time, Granny Weatherall was young, she made a good preparation for the wedding and looked forward to her new life. But God played a prank on herJoe didn??t appear on the weddingshe was deserted! However, misfortunes never come alone. Weatherall then married with John and built a happy family. Almost everything seemed to be perfect, but John died of a disease suddenly. Then, Weatherall lost her daughter. At last, she was deserted by God. Granny Weatherall??s whole life is very hard and full of misfortunes and difficulties, but Granny Weatherall is very staunch. Every time when she recalls those misfortunes and fells difficult to calm down, she always tells herself to be strong and throw away these vanity thought. Whatever happened, life has to go on. Granny Weatherall does it. Although she loses two families??her husband and her daughter??, she still takes good care of her other family members and works hard in order to give them a relatively rich and comfortable life.

     Secondly, Granny Weatherall is very a very charitable and capable woman. From the novel(on page 145),we can find this ??Riding country roads in the winter when women had their babies was anther thing?ºsitting up nights with sick horses and sick negroes and sick children and hardly losing one. John, I hardly lost one of them! John would see that in a minute, that would be something he could understand, she wouldn??t have to explain anything??. We all know that a preganant woman usually stays at home and have someone take care of her. However, on the contrary, Granny Weatherall have no one take care of her and she has to take care of others, both man and animal. But Granny doesn??t complaint .She did almost everything perfectly??and she propped up the family alone.

     Additionally, Granny Weatherall is general not only because she takes care of those poor people but she has forgiven those who desert her. Joe, who once was Weatherall??s boyfriend , had deserted her on the wedding. Weatherall once wants to see him again and tells him how happy she is because she now has a good husband John and lovely childrenJohn gives her more than Joe can give. But Joe has stayed in

    Weatherall??s heart forever. Even if she forgives him, she still can??t forget him. Since she has experienced so many misfortunes , she has learnt a lot and understand a lot , and has a reasonable attitude toward life.

     Granny Weatherall is a kind, brave, optimistic, diligient and general woman. She is considerable and thoughtful ??but sometimes she is as stubborn as a donkey. She believes that whatever difficulty she may encounter or whoever will jilt her, God will never desert her. As a matter of a fact, God checks and deserts Wearherall. In the end of the story, Weatherall prays to the God and hopes happen something miracle. But all is in vain, Weatherall also is suspicious of the God and blows the candle off by herselfshe accepts death peacefully and seriously. Through Granny Weatherall??s life we can find she is a typical good wife and good mother, she does everything she could do to raise the whole family. What??s more, she is never gives a way to fate, she tries her best to struggle against it and change it. In my eyes, she is a very extraordinary and successful woman who has lived through so much hard time. She is independent and smart as she always knows what is the most important thing for her.

     In the story, we can also find some similarity between the author and the character. Granny Weatherall is not only a poor woman but she is also a new and independent woman who is as equal as man. Although she had many spiritual or mental bewildered problems ,Granny Weatherall is not just a single woman, she is also a collection of women in the southern America at that time. She shows us a real society in the southern America , a real social phenomenon, a real problem for women. Weatherall , as a woman, should be independent and equal, and never gives up to cruel life. Women should have their own though and control their own fate instead of being man??s or society??s sacrifices. Women really has another name but it??s not called frailness?? her name is independence.

     Plot and Summary

     Plot

     The setting for ??The Jilting of Granny Weatherall?? is the bedroom where Granny Weatherall is dying, though most of the action occurs in Granny??s head. Told as a stream-of-consciousness monologue, ??The Jilting of Granny Weatherall?? is the story of the last day in the eighty-year-old woman??s life. In her final hours with her surviving children around her bed, Granny Weatherall reconsiders her life and ponders her impending death. Almost against her will, her thoughts return to an incident that occurred more than sixty years earlier: She was left standing alone at the altar when her fiance George jilted her.

     Porter gradually reveals the details of the jilting through Granny Weatherall??s fragmented recollections. In Granny Weatherall??s semi-conscious state, the past mingles with the present and people and

    objects take on new forms and identities. After the doctor leaves her alone, Granny Weatherall takes stock of her life, taking pleasure in the thought ??that a person could spread out the plan of life and tuck the edges in orderly.?? But it is not long before she finds ??death in her mind and it felt clammy and unfamiliar.?? The presence of death in her thoughts causes her to recall an earlier time when she thought she was dying and how she had spent too much time preparing for it. This time she considers ??all the food she had cooked, and all the clothes she had cut and sewed, and all the gardens she had made?? and declares herself satisfied. She imagines asking her late husband, ??Well, I didn??t do so badly, did I???

     Like an unwelcome guest, the memory of the day when she was jilted interrupts Granny Weatherall??s reflections. As she rests against her pillow she is transported back to the day when ??she has put on the white veil and set out the white cake for a man?? who never arrived. Although ??for sixty years she had prayed against remembering him,?? she decides now as her children hover around her that she wants to settle things with George, the truant bridegroom. What she wants is to even their accounts, to tell him ??I got my husband just the same and my children and my house just like any other woman.?? The memory of that day ??when the cake was not cut, but thrown out and wasted?? is so powerful that sixty years later she seems to relive the moment. Her memory recalls when ??the whole bottom dropped out of the world, and there she was blind and sweating with nothing under her feet and the walls falling away.??

     The border between past and present, living and dead, becomes even more blurred in the final pages of the story and the final minutes of Granny Weatherall??s life. While the priest gives her last rights, Granny slips closer to death and the sights and sounds in the room mingle with her memories. When she grasps her son??s thumb, she realizes this is the moment of death. As ??the blue light from Cornelia??s lampshade drew into a tiny point in the center of her brain,?? Granny asks God for ??a sign,?? some reassurance about the afterlife. But ??for the second time there was no sign.?? Granny Weatherall is jilted once again in a betrayal that is so monumental that it makes the first incident seem insignificant. ??She could not remember any other sorrow because this grief wiped them all away.??

     Summary

     On her death bed, surrounded by her children, doctor and priest, a memory of 60 years ago, the day she was jilted by her husband-to-be, could no longer be repressed by Granny Weatherall--

     "the thought of him was a smoky cloud from hell that moved and crept in her head . . . ." Voices and visions, imagined and real, mingle and merge throughout the story as this hardy woman, one who has

    weathered so much, lives out her final moments. Ironically, Granny Weatherall is jilted for a second time when the final sign she's been waiting for from Jesus never appears. "For the second time there was no sign. Again no bridegroom and the priest in the house . . . She stretched herself with a deep breath and blew out the light."

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