Katherine Anne Porter uses Granny to show how female can achieve dignity under the control of the patriarchal society.
"Be a good girl", "Missy" is how Doctor Harry calls the eighty-years-old woman. It is very obvious that the patriarchal society empowers male with authority, so that even Doctor Harry is much younger than Granny, he still holds superior social position than female. However, Granny does not agree with this traditional idea, so she defenses that, "That's no way to speak to a woman nearly eighty years old just because she's down. I'd have you respect your elders, young man." Many female may have similar experience in daily life, they may also discontent about the male authority, but not all of them dare to speak for themselves like Granny does. The words "woman" and "young man" show that she wants to be respected by male, and her discontentment to the male's authority.
Because her husband had passed away early, Granny used to force herself to act like a tough woman so that she can raise four children on her own. Being a housewife without support from husband, Granny has to carry both father and mother roles for her children. "John would see that in a minute, that would be something he would understand, she wouldn't have to explain anything." She gave herself pressure in her died husband's name, so that she can finish every mission with the strong will.
"It was good to be strong enough for everything", "Digging post holes changed a woman", although she has to struggle through many harsh works like a man, and also did housework as the duty of woman, she still tried to keep everything in order. It clearly proves that she has the ability and power to deal with the harsh works like a man. In this case, she achieved self-dignity of being a woman who had the potential to do the same harsh work as good as men do, so that it is the reason why she wants people to show the same respect for her as for men.
Through Granny's example, the writer shows that female can get own independent and dignity only if they dare not choose to be the fixed type of female that they had been expected to be by the patriarchy society.