1. There was the day . . . but a whirl of dark smoke rose and covered it, crept up and over into the bright field where everything was planted so carefully in orderly rows. That was hell. . . . For sixty years she had prayed against remembering him and against losing her soul in the deep pit of hell. . . .
For a woman who prizes order above all things, disorder and confusion can be tormenting. Granny conceives of her planned life as a field “planted so carefully in orderly rows” and of George as a demon of chaos, a creeping, whirling cloud of smoke that covers her tidy field. His failure to show up at the church is disastrous for Granny not only because it humiliates her and robs her of the man she loves, but also because it throws her carefully planned future into disarray. This passage also illustrates the effects of Granny’s state of constant denial. Granny has tried to forget George entirely for the past sixty years. The narrator suggests that Granny feared thinking about George because it would throw her into “the deep pit of hell,” a state of rage, envy, or depression. These lines make it clear, however, that she has failed to eradicate him from her thoughts.