18 July 2011
Many literary works reflect similar characters, symbols, and/or settings despite that they regard different cultures and/or diverse time periods. These analogous literary elements are referred to as literary archetypes. An archetype has been defined as, “A universally recognizable element . . . that recurs across all literature and life (Latrobe 13). When viewing the short story “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” the reader immediately recognizes two palpable archetypes: the unhealable wound and death/rebirth. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to analyze Katherine Ann Porter’s, “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” and to signify the archetypes, unhealable wound and death/rebirth, which are clearly represented within this short story.
The story was written in 1930 by Katherine Anne Porter (Lauter, 1387). This story is about a woman, Ellen “Granny” Weatherall, and her internal struggle of accepting death which is vastly approaching. When viewing this short story psycho-analytically, the reader is able to understand many personal emotions and desires imposed through the main character, Granny Weatherall. Granny is portrayed as a stubborn, independent, and slightly bitter old woman. Although Granny lay on her death bed, she does not want to die. “My children have come to see me die. But I can’t, it’s not time” (Porter 182). Granny’s refusal to die leads her through a journey involving death and rebirth. In this case, Granny struggles with journeying towards death.
The journey of birth/death/rebirth is considered an archetypal action or event, rite of initiation. “Through pain and suffering the character overcomes feelings of despair, and through a process of self-realization is reborn” (Herz and Gallo 110). We can see Granny’s trepidation of journeying towards death through her desire to return to the past. While Granny is dying, she continuously reminisces of the past when her children were...