The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

by: Katherine Ann Porter

Motifs

Waste

The fear of wasting food, which recurs in “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” suggests Granny’s fear of wasting life. As if rehearsing a speech that she wants to deliver to her children or turning to address the readers, Granny lies in bed silently exhorting an unnamed “you” to make sure that all the fruit gets picked and none of it goes to waste. She goes on to warn against losing things. These commands are partly practical in that Granny has had to support a family on not much money and has done that by using everything she can. The commands also show Granny’s nervousness about squandering life itself. She seems to worry that she has wasted her own life and doesn’t want her children to waste theirs by frittering away what is most important. Later, Granny thinks of her wedding cake, which went to waste after George stood her up at the altar. Her anxiety about this uneaten food suggests her sadness over wasting—losing—the man whom she loved best. On some level, Granny fears that because she lost her true love, the life she went on to live was a waste.