Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding: Summary
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers is the story of an adolescent girl who triumphs over loneliness and gains maturity through an identity that she creates for herself in her mind. It is with this guise that twelve year old Frankie Addams begins to feel confident about herself and life. The author seems to indicate that one can feel good about oneself through positive thinking regardless of reality. The novel teaches that one's destiny is a self-fulfilled prophecy, seeing one's self in a certain light oftentimes creates an environment where one might become that which one would like to be.
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 with the idea that she will leave Georgia and live with Jarvis and Janice in 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 contributes to a rejection of the old feeling that "the old Frankie had no we to claim.... Now all this was suddenly over with and changed. There was her brother and the bride, and it was as though when first she saw them something she had known inside of her: They are the we of me." Being a member of the 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 part of an intact, existing group, that is, Jarvis and Janice. The teen years are known as a time of soul-searching for a new and grown up...
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