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The Jilting Of Granny Weatherall Critical Essays On Alice

Katherine Anne Porter was born in Texas in 1890 as Callie Russell Porter. When she was two, her mother died during childbirth, so she went to live with her grandmother, Catherine Ann, along with her three siblings and her father. When Porter was eleven, Catherine Ann died, prompting the family to move frequently, often shifting between Texas and Louisiana. As a result, Porter received little formal education beyond elementary school. When she was sixteen, Porter ran away and converted to Catholicism to marry John Henry Koontz. Koontz was an alcoholic who subjected Porter to extreme physical abuse, and after eight years of marriage, Porter left him to start a career as an actress in Chicago and Texas. She formally divorced Koontz in 1915 and changed her named to Katherine Anne, a respelled version of her grandmother’s name.

The same year she divorced Koontz, Porter contracted tuberculosis. For the next two years, she lived in sanatoriums. Porter’s writing career began in 1917, when she worked as a drama critic and gossip columnist for the Fort Worth Critic, struggling to make ends meet. While working for a newspaper in Denver, Colorado, she fell victim to the great influenza epidemic that swept the nation in 1918 and 1919. After recovering, she moved to New York City, where she wrote fiction for children and did some ghostwriting. In 1920, Porter went to Mexico, a country that felt familiar to her because of the Mexicans she had known in Texas. She quickly became involved with the revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow the government, befriending infamous revolutionaries such as Diego Rivera. She also taught and worked as a journalist in Mexico and soon abandoned Catholicism.

In 1922, Porter published a book called Outline of Popular Mexican Arts and Crafts. That year also marked the publication of her first short story, “María Concepción.” She wrote book reviews for various journals, along with articles for the New Republic and the Nation. In 1930, she published her first collection of short stories, Flowering Judas and Other Stories, which drew on Porter’s firsthand experiences of the revolution in Mexico.

Porter’s personal life, meanwhile, continued to be colorful and difficult: she had several miscarriages and endured a yearlong marriage to a man named Ernest Stock, who gave her gonorrhea. In the late 1920s, Porter traveled to Europe and eventually moved to Paris in the early 1930s, where she became friends with English writer Ford Madox Ford. In 1938, Porter returned to the states and married a man twenty years her junior, but she divorced him in 1942. She never remarried.

Porter blossomed as a writer during the 1930s. In 1937, she published Noon Wine and Pale Horse, Pale Rider: Three Short Novels. The latter features a southern family, the youngest daughter of which is often identified as a stand-in for Porter herself. When writing fiction, Porter often drew on her own life, creating rich blends of reality and imagination. As she wrote in one of her essays, “I shall try to tell the truth, but the result will be fiction.” The title character in the story “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” (1930) is largely based on Porter’s grandmother, Catherine Ann Porter. The story also addresses religious belief and grave illness, subjects of which Porter had personal knowledge.

Porter worked on her novel Ship of Fools for more than twenty years, teaching at universities and giving lectures to earn money while she wrote. She finally published the novel in 1962, when she was seventy-two. Although Porter had already achieved critical success, Ship of Fools was the work that turned her into a widely known and read author. The novel spent twenty-six weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a film starring Vivien Leigh in 1966. Porter won more acclaim in 1965, when her Collected Stories won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature three times. Toward the end of her life, Porter returned to the Roman Catholic faith she had adopted as a young woman. She died in 1980, and her ashes were buried next to her mother’s grave in Texas.

This guide focuses on searching for information about short stories, biographies, and short story collections. Depending on your research assignment's requirements, you may wish to include a variety of resources, such as books, eBooks, periodicals, and websites to support your chosen topic. Please note: for remote access to search databases, you may be prompted for your NSU userID and password.

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NSU Libraries Homepage Overview (Introduction to the library web site and commonly used features)
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EBSCOhost (Searching in multiple library databases)
Evaluating Websites (YouTube video from Pollak Library, California State University - Fullerton)
Peer Review Journals (Finding scholarly or peer reviewed articles - YouTube video)
Plagiarism: How to avoid it (YouTube video from Bainbridge State College)
EBSCOhost (Finding information using EBSCOhost databases - Vendor tutorial)

Library Books:

Use the Library Catalog to search for books that provide biographical information, criticisms, and collections of short stories.

Biographical information:
Print books and eBooks are available that provide a brief biographical overview of an author. Full-length biographies on many short story writers may be found through the  Library Catalog by doing a subject search on the writer's last name or search in the EBSCOhost eBook Collection.  Some authors write in multiple genres, such as drama, fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. (Example author: John Updike) An index to biographical sources is the Biography and Genealogy Master Index. This index will list sources providing biographical information about authors. Use the database WorldCat (OCLC) to search for books in other libraries in addition to NSU libraries.

Many print and online sources contain biographies and criticisms of short story writers. Examples of sources are listed below:
American Authors, 1600-1900: A Biographical Dictionary (Ref. PS21.K8)
A Companion to American Fiction, 1865-1914 (PS377.C665)
British Authors Before 1800 (Ref. PR105.K9)
British Authors of the Nineteenth Century (Ref. PR451.K8)
The Contemporary American Short-Story Cycle: The Ethnic Resonance of Genre (PS374.S5 N34)
Contemporary Authors (Ref. PN 451.C58)
Dictionary of Literary Biography (Ref. PN451.D32)
Introduction to Literary Context: American Short Fiction (PS374.S5 I587) For the eBook, search in Salem Press Titles.
Masterplots, 4th edition(Ref. PN44 .M33) For the eBook, search in Salem Press Titles.
Masterplots II: American Fiction Series (Ref. PS373.M37)
Masterplots II: Short Story Series (Ref. PN3326.M27)
Twentieth Century Authors (Ref. PN771.K86)
The Victorian Short Story: Development and Triumph of a Literary Genre (PR829.O7)
Something About the Author (Ref. PN451.S6) - print v.1 - v.232 (1971-2012) biographical-young adult literature

Example author:
For more in-depth general critical information or biographical information about an author, do a subject search on the author's last name using the Library Catalog. (i.e. Updike, John or Porter, Katherine Anne or Chopin, Kate or Gilman Charlotte Perkins, or Poe, Edgar Allan)

Online reference sources:
Online reference books that contain biographies are available through several databases:
Literature Resource Center (biographies, criticisms, and reviews)
Something About the Author SATA (biographical - young adult literature)
Biography and Genealogy Master Index (lists sources to locate information about an author)
Salem Press Titles (selected literature)

Literary criticism:
The Contemporary American Short-Story Cycle: The Ethnic Resonance of Genre (PS374.S5 N34)
Introduction to Literary Context (PS374.S5 I587) See online version via Salem Press Titles
Scribbling Women and the Short Story Form: Approaches by American and British Women Writers (PS374.S5 S37)
Sharing Secrets: Nineteenth Century Women's Relations in the Short Story (PS374.W6 P35)
Short Fiction Criticism: A Checklist of Interpretation Since 1925 of Stories and Novelettes (American, British, Continental) 1800-1958 (PN3373.T5)
Critical Insights: Contemporary Immigrant Short Fiction (PS508.I45 C668) See online version via Salem Press Titles

Short story - indexes:
Short Story Index (Ref. PN3373.C62)
Short Story Index: An Index to Stories in Collections and Periodicals (Ref. PN3373.C62)
Twentieth Century Short Story Explication (Ref. PN 3373.W33)
Twentieth Century Short Story Explication: With Checklists of Books and Journals Used (Ref. PN3373.W35)

Online sources:
For a quick overview to the short story use Literature Resource Center (search by Name of Work)
The Salem Press Titles database offers selected literature by many authors, and the accompanying print versions are in the NSU library collections at John Vaughan Library or the Broken Arrow campus library. For the online version, see the following Critical Surveys series and Introduction to Literary Context series through Salem Press Titles, example titles:
Critical Survey of Short Fiction: American Writers
Critical Survey of Short Fiction: British, Irish & Commonwealth Writers
Critical Survey of Short Fiction: European Writers
Critical Survey of Short Fiction: Topical Essays
Critical Survey of Short Fiction: World Writers
Critical Survey of Short Fiction: Cumulative Indexes

Introduction to Literary Context: American Short Fiction
Introduction to Literary Context: English Literature
Introduction to Literary Context: World Literature

Short story collections:

For a collection of stories by a specific writer, do an author search through the Library Catalog. Example author: Joyce Carol Oates, Heat and Other Stories (PS3565.A8 H43) or Alice Munro, Selected Stories (PR9199.3.M8 A6)

The Best American Short Stories of the Century (PS648.S5 B4)
American Voices: Best Short Fiction by Contemporary Authors (PS648.S5 A56)
Pow Wow: Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience: Short Fiction from Then to Now (PS647.E85 P68)
The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (PS648.S5 O94)
The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories (PR1309.D4 O94)
The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories (PR1309.S3 O97)


Periodicals will include articles about the author, general criticism, and some articles about specific short stories. Do a Library Catalog search for these titles and for online versions, select among the databases listed in the record.
American Literature (online)
Comparative Literature (onine)
Early Modern Literary Studies (online)
English Journal (Print - see Browsing area on the first floor)
Explicator (online)
Journal of the Short Story in English (online)
Modern Fiction Studies (Print - see Browsing area on the first floor)
Renascence (online)
StoryQuarterly (online) Stories online and see Submissions for the Annual Fiction and the Annual Nonfiction Contests.
Studies in Short Fiction (online)
Texas Studies in Literature and Language (online)

Articles and Databases:

For remote access to search databases, you may be prompted for your NSU userID and password. From the NSU Libraries' home page underneath the Research section located on the left side of the page click on the link "Articles and Databases." This displays a listing of databases from general to those listed by subject field or discipline. Or try the Database A-Z, which lists them in alphabetical order. If uncertain about which database to use, begin by choosing a general database like Academic Search Premier or Ask a Librarian for assistance. (See ArticlesNSU quick guide.) Review some of the Library Tutorials listed at the beginning of this page for searching tips. For additional assistance after selecting a database, review the database Help screens for suggestions in using the database effectively. To locate only full-text articles, look for the full-text limiter and check the box. For articles that are not available in full-text format in our print collections or online through our databases, use the InterLibrary Loan service.

For descriptions of the EBSCO databases, see EBSCOhost. You may also select and search multiple EBSCO databases simultaneously. Some journals contain biographical content and criticism articles. For biographical information, search by author's name (ex: Porter, Katherine Anne and biography); search by author's name and title of story for articles. If the title is phrasal, such as "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" by Katherine Anne Porter, place the title inside quotation marks. In the database search box, type: Porter and "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall " to locate information about this story.

When using the database Literature Resource Center, choose the option Person-By or About and enter the author's name and limit the content type to biographies. For the information about a particular work or title, choose the option Name of Work and enter the title of the short story.

Example databases include the following:
Academic Search Premier (general database, articles, books, and reviews)
EBSCOhost eBook Collection (ebooks)
Humanities Full Text (journals for humanities)
Literature Resource Center (biographical, reviews, criticisms)
MLA International Bibliography (indexes journal articles, book chapters, and dissertations in literature and languages)
OmniFile Full Text Mega (general database)
Salem Press Titles (selected literature)
Something About the Author SATA (biographical - young adult literature)
WorldCat (OCLC) - (materials available in libraries worldwide)


American Authors, by Donna M. Campbell of Washington State University
American Literature Short Story Library (
Classic Short Stories (
The Mississippi Writers Page (


MLA (8th) Citation Style/ APA Citation Style:

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 6th edition print version is located in the Reference section, call number BF 76.7.P83. Or search by title in the Library Catalog for additional locations of these style manuals. For assistance with writing and how to cite sources, the John Vaughan Library offers personal assistance at the Citation Station (Spring and Fall semesters). Contact the Information Desk at 918-444-3235 for dates and times. Also, contact the Writing Center for writing and citation help.


Contact the Subject Librarian for Languages and Literature:
NSU-John Vaughan Library
College of Liberal Arts
Department of Languages and Literature