Member Of Wedding

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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THEME(S) The Member of the Wedding is the first novel devoted exclusively to the discomforts of a girl's adolescence. Carson McCullers maintains the girl's point of view throughout the novel, never leaving that point of view to take the adult perspective on the action and comment on Frankie's choices or experiences. With this technique, McCullers gives full voice to girls, a traditionally voiceless group. She structures the reader's perception of the actions of the plot from this point of view alone, forcing the reader to see the world from Frankie's uncomfortable point of view.

In choosing the age of twelve, the margins of childhood and teenage years, McCullers is able to focus on the uncomfortable state of "becoming." Frankie Addams doesn't yet know what she will become. When she, Berenice, and John Henry tell stories about what they would do if they were the creator of the world, Frankie's world is a mixed world.

She likes Berenice's idea that the world be peaceful and that there be no wars, but she also can't give up the romanticism of war heroes, so she creates a war island where people who want war can go so that can be heroes. She also imagines a world in which girls can change to be boys and back again and boys can do the same. She can't even decide whether to name her cat Charles or Charlina and she calls it a Persian even though it's a short-haired cat. Like her life, her imaginary world is an adolescent's world of in-betweeneness.

Part of the problem of being in the flux of becoming is the fact that Frankie is unjoined. She doesn't belong to any club. The girls she played with just the summer before are now too old for her and won't let her join...