Member of the Wedding by Carson Mccullers - Context Essay (Expository)

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“Without connection to others there is no me”

Throughout our lives, everyone that we share bonds with and interact with on a regular basis, either forms or has some sort of influence on our identity. Consequently, the majority of us naturally find ourselves striving to fit in with these people, especially during the tough transition from childhood to adulthood. It is this part of the human condition that makes us feel as though we must forge ties with something outside of ourselves in order to establish a strong sense of existence and a clear understanding of who we are. Although most individuals are able to make these connections with others naturally, others who stray from the social norm might not be so fortunate, but rather than accepting their feeling of non-existence, may be forced to deny the need to belong entirely in order to continue to express their own unique identity. It can also be argued that this idea is not as black and white as it seems, because although not all connections are essential to our sense of self, some such as the bonds we share with our family are critical to the formation of our identity. Furthermore, the nature of a connection itself is complicated, as it is not always a fluid thing that occurs naturally; for some it is a choice, one which can mean the difference between social acceptance and seclusion. 

It is generally accepted that our true identity is best discovered when we form connections with others, and that without these relations, a sense of existence is hard to establish. Indian leader and renowned philosopher, Mahatma Gandhi, once claimed that “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Like most people, Gandhi acknowledges that the need to belong is an innate predisposition in all humans, and firmly believes that this acts as a catalyst for self-discovery. In the novel ‘The Member of The Wedding’ by Carson McCullers, the author explores this concept of identity and belonging, conveying her key views and values through the struggles of her story’s main protagonist, Frankie. Frankie is a twelve year old girl who is very much confused with the world, and finds herself in a situation which is familiar to most adolescents; awkwardly caught up somewhere between childhood and adulthood, with the haunting feeling of belonging “to no club and [being] a member of nothing in the world”. Being devoid of acceptance makes Frankie feel largely ostracised within her town, leaving her emotionally and spiritually desolate, and in turn, inhibiting her ability to identify who she truly is. The coming of her brother Jarvis’ wedding gives her something to latch onto, and she becomes actively involved with the wedding, convincing herself of the false reality of “the future ahead when the three of them would be together in all the many distant places”. Nevertheless, it is only when she finds this sense of belonging to the bride and groom and the wedding itself, as strange and superficial as it may seem, that she feels as if she has a purpose in life and understands who she is: “they are the we of me”. These examples reveal that without connections, an individual is often incomplete, and stuck with the notion that they are isolated from the world entirely.

Then again, this is not always the case, as it is still possible for an individual to establish a sense of existence without these bonds which we believe to be so vital. This is quite common for homosexuals, who are often subject to this unfortunate situation. Homosexuality can cause one to be isolated by those around them, and this can be extremely detrimental to the individual’s perception of themselves. However, in some cases, the individual may be able to overcome this obstacle by continuing to express their sexuality openly and confidently. Ruby Rose, an Australian model and famous celebrity, is a prime example of this. At the early age of twelve, Ruby came out as a lesbian, and as a direct result of...
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