Instructor: Dr. Rashmi Roy
17th of July, 2015
Comparing Believability between Two Fictional Characters
Love is the chaos of many lives, "It's a very dangerous state. You are inclined to recklessness and kind of tune out the rest of your life and everything that's been important to you. It's actually not all that pleasurable. I don't know who the hell wants to get in a situation where you can't bear an hour without somebody's company." This quote by Colin Firth helps tie together the similarities both Ellen Weatherall (Granny) in Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” and Emily in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” felt within their own love lives. Both characters in these short stories were extremely stubborn women, but what ties them together is how a man plays an extremely negative role in their lives to alter it forever. The mental state of mind Emily possesses does exist in people even today, but with Granny having a more convincing, realistic, and bitter role of an old woman; I feel she is the more believable character of the two. Granny’s last name “Weatherall,” is significant: she has weathered all kinds of storms in her life, fighting the fight and never giving up. The story begins showing her true bitterness, and irritable personality traits with the first words she spoke toward the Doctor, “Get along now, take your schoolbooks and go. There’s nothing wrong with me.” (Porter 77) As the Doctor talks down to her, almost like a small child, she soon snaps back with “Don’t tell me what I am going to be…” Granny then goes on to say, “Get along and doctor your sick, Leave a well woman alone. I’ll call for you when I want you… Where were you forty years ago when I pulled through milk-leg and pneumonia? You weren’t even born.” (Porter 78) As she yells her snappy remarks to a man only there to help, she proves she is a very independent woman feeling perfectly capable of taking care of herself, even while on her deathbed. This attitude of bitterness coming from an elderly woman helps convince the reader of the characters believability. Granny is very much a real character, with valid feelings, personality, and many stressful life events. These factors help the reader to relate to the story and find certain similarities in their own life experiences.
The author creates a very convincing, realistic character through many “streams of consciousness” recounting Granny’s past years and the struggles she faced in life. One recount of life that helps shape a vivid understanding of the type of housewife and mother Granny was can be found in the middle of the story:
Granny wished the old days were back again with the children young and everything to be done over. It had been a hard pull, but not too much for her. When she thought of all the food she had cooked, and all the clothes she had cut and sewed, and all the gardens she had made – well, the children showed it. There they were, made out of her, and they couldn’t get away from that. Sometimes she wanted to see John again and point to them and say, Well, I didn’t do so badly, did I? (Porter 79)
With hard work, time, and dedication Granny Weatherall expresses what a good job she had done raising her children after their own father passes away unexpectedly. Wanting some type of recognition for her accomplishments is only human nature. Human beings need affection to satisfy the need to belong, praise to feel admired, and recognition to satisfy the need for personal growth. Granny is a smart woman, perceptive about people other than herself and capable of cracking jokes minutes before her death. Although many people envision grandmothers to be warm, loving, caring, and patient, in this story Granny proves to have…