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KATHERINE ANNE PORTER 1890 - 1980 Born in a log cabin in Texas Raised mostly by her grandmother Had a sprawling family Familiar with hardship and deprivation Fragmentary schooling – education was not steady; divided into “chunks” of schooling Married for the first time at 16; married 4 times Impatient with lasting marital relationships but didn’t like being alone Traveled widely – lived in the West, Greenwich Village, Mexico, Paris, and Berlin (other places as well) Worked as a newspaper reporter and a translator A creative writer who was largely self-taught Became well-red; had a natural talent for story telling Works present southern women who are caught up in a web of custom and obligation Main themes include burdens of past evil and the strain with which that evil hold us captive in the present Won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize Terms to Know Stream of consciousness – a style of writing that conveys the inner – and sometimes chaotic – workings of a character’s mind Ambiguities – meanings that are unclear or open to more than one interpretation Characterization – the way that a writer reveals the personality of a character Ways a writer reveals a character: By telling us directly what is character is like David was the sneakiest person in our club. By describing how the character looks and dresses Eliza, in her faded jeans, tye-died T-shirt, and sandals, sat quietly under the tree enjoying the day. By letting us hear the character speak By revealing the character’s private thoughts and feelings By revealing the character’s effect on other people— showing how other characters feel or behave toward the character By showing the character in action Types of characterization: Direct – the writer tells us directly; we do not have to figure out what the character’s personality is like Indirect – we have to use clues that the writer gives to infer what a character is like; similar to what we have to do in real life when we meet someone new In “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”, everything we learn about the characters is through indirect characterization. Vocabulary Development Tactful – skilled in saying the right thing My grandmother was sometimes less than tactful. Clammy – cold and damp When Beau passed out, he felt clammy. Plague – annoy Harry loves to plague his older sister. Vanity – excessive pride Donna’s vanity made it difficult for many people to like her. Jilted – rejected (as a lover) Edith was jilted by Juan. Disputed – contested Warren disputed the evidence brought against him. Nimbus – aura; halo As Bryant came to, he saw a nimbus around the coach’s head. Dwindled – diminshed The number of cookies quickly dwindled when the children came in from the playground. “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” The story takes place in one day at Cornelia’s home, where Granny Weahterall lives. Granny is an 80-year-old woman who is on her deathbed. Her husband John has been dead for many years. In addition to Cornelia, her other children are Lydia, Jimmy, and Hapsy. Hapsy is her favorite. Granny passes in and out of consciousness. As she does so, she interacts with her doctor and her daughter. She also thinks back on her long life. Study Questions 1. At the beginning of the story, Granny’s bones are described as feeling loose and like they are floating in her skin. What is happening to her at this point? 2. How does Granny feel about Cornelia? 3. What impressions do you have of Granny? 4. Why does Granny think that her husband John “would be a child beside her now if she saw him now”? 5. What happened to Granny sixty years ago? 6. Who is Hapsy? Where is she? 7. How did George affect Granny’s life? 8. What are the ambiguities in the story?
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