Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding: Summary
twelve year old Frankie Addams begins to feel confident about herself and life.
The world begins to look new and beautiful to Frankie when her older
brother Jarvis returns from Alaska with his bride-to-be, Janice. The once
clumsy Frankie, forlorn and lonely, feeling that she “was a member of nothing
in the world” now decides that she is
going to be “the member of the wedding.” Frankie truly believes that she is
going to be an integral part of her brother’s new family and becomes infatuated
Winter Hill. In her scheme to be part of this new unit, she dubs herself F.
Jasmine so that she and the wedding couple will all have names beginning with
the letters J and a. Her positive thinking induces a euphoria which
brother and the bride, and it was as though when first she saw them something
wedding will, she feels, connect her irrevocably to her brother and his wife.
Typical of many teenagers, she felt that in order to be someone she has to be a
effort to find this identity teens seek to join a group. Frankie, too, is
deperate for Jarvis and Janice’s adult acceptance.
cousin, and Berenice Brown, her black cook. It is through her interactions
childhood. Before Jarvis and Janice arrive, Frankie is content to play with
John Henry. When she becomes F. Jasmine and an imagined “we” of the couple,
she feels too mature to have John Henry sleep over, preferring, instead, to
she would not have considered doing before gaining this new confidence.
When F. Jasmine tells her plans to Berenice, the cook immediately warns
her that Jarvis and Janice will not want her to live with them. F. Jasmine
smugly ignores the cook’s warning that “you just laying yourself this fancy
shattering reality that Frances (as she is now known) faces, it is evident,
from the fact that their refusal doesn’t crush her, that she has truly turned
herself around, and that her maturity is an authentic and abiding one. At the
finds a sympathetic friend who becomes the other half of her new “we.”
Carson McCullers brilliantly portrays a teenage girl’s maturation
through a fabricated feeling of belonging, which ultimately leads to a true
belonging. The reader sees how the girl grows from a childish “Frankie,” to a
disillusioned “F. Jasmine,” and eventually to a matured Frances. When F.
consent of the court, the cook insightfully responds, “You have a name and one
thing after another happens to you, and you behave in various ways and do
various things, so that soon the name begins to have a meaning.” No matter
how we might change externals, it is only when our innermost feelings are
altered that we truly change and grow.