In the short story “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” Granny Weatherall’s stubbornness is reflected in the way she views people’s actions and in her obviously senile thinking process. Whether consciously or subconsciously, she regards most of the attempts to aid her or please her as either threatening or rude. This is derived from her stubborn attitude towards death and illness. She views herself as being near immortal until the very end. Her first misconception of someone trying to help her is shown in the very beginning of the story.
When the doctor tries to check her pulse and give her a routine check-up, Granny Weatherall “flicked her wrist out of Doctor Harry’s… fingers. ” This is followed by her considering him to be a “brat” who needs to “respect [his] elders. ” The doctor then tells her not to get out of bed. She responds by telling him to “get along and doctor your sick… Leave a well woman alone. ” This reaction to the doctor’s check-up show’s that Granny is very confident that nothing is wrong with her. Whether this is her senile mind taking over or if she really believes that she is fine, there is some part of her that doesn’t want to let go of life.
After the doctor walks out, Granny Weatherall hears her daughter, Cornelia, and the doctor whispering outside her door. Cornelia clearly sounds worried about her mother’s fading health, but Granny sees the whispering as being rude. When Cornelia comes into Granny’s room to check on her and see if she needs anything, Granny’s face tied up “in hard knots” and Granny says “I want a lot of things. First off, go away and don’t whisper. ” Again, a simple act of generosity is viewed by Granny Weatherall as a rude act.
Her stubborn attitude in this segment seems to be suggesting that she really believes that she does not need any help with anything. Even when she falls asleep, she hopes “the children would keep out and let her rest. ” During her sleep, “she found death in her mind and found it clammy and unfamiliar. ” Then Granny goes on to think, “Let [death] take care of itself. ” This suggests that Granny likes to push death to the side and think about other things. Even when Granny Weatherall needs help, she finds a way to make others look rude for not knowing she wanted something. Granny asks Cornelia for a “noggin of hot toddy. Cornelia asks if Granny was cold, and Granny replies, “I’m chilly… Lying in bed stops my circulation. I must have told you a thousand times. ” After this, Granny Weatherall hears Cornelia asking her husband to entertain Granny. She thinks, “Wait, wait, Cornelia, till your children whisper behind your back! ” Finally, soon after this, Granny feels the effect of death on her. She realizes this and wants to “stand up to it. ” Cornelia brings her to her senses by washing her forehead with cold water. Granny naturally sees this as being rude because she “[does not] like having her face washed in cold water. A priest comes to give her final rights, but his words break off right before he’s about to explain what’s happening because Granny won’t accept her end. The moment of Granny Weatherall’s death, while Cornelia is crying over her mother, Granny says her final words, “I’m not going, Cornelia. I’m taken by surprise. I can’t go. ” This shows that Granny, truly, consciously and unconsciously, stubbornly denied her weakness and completely forced the thought of death from her mind. Even when she “accepted” her death, she still couldn’t really accept her death.