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The Member of the Wedding

Carson McCullers

Part Two, Chapter 1

Part One

Part Two, Chapter 1, page 2

page 1 of 2
Summary

McCullers plays a very interesting trick with time in this section. In Part One, she quietly skips over the period of Saturday that spans from early morning until 5:45 PM. It is such a subtle shift that one might not even notice it immediately. In Part Two, she goes back and begins telling the story of Saturday morning and afternoon. However, she gives no indicator that she is going backwards. To make matters more confusing, she changes Frankie's name to F. Jasmine, which gives the impression that these events do take place after those of Part One. Because that part covers time which takes place after the events in Part Two, yet Frankie still goes by her original name then.

The newly formed identity of F. Jasmine has a completely different attitude about life than "the old Frankie," which is how she refers to the part of herself she thinks of as dead. This incarnation is older, more confident and feels connected with the world. She no longer feels confused, instead she is confident and excited about her plans to unify with Jarvis and Janice at their wedding.

Before he leaves for work, F. Jasmine tells her father she has to buy a dress for the wedding and he tells her to charge it. F. Jasmine expects her father to recognize the change that has taken place in her. But he is still fatherly and admonishes her sternly for meddling with his tool set. He ignores her threat that she will not return after the wedding.

F. Jasmine leaves the house and wanders the town in search of people to tell about her plans to leave town with her brother and his bride. She feels a strange, unexplainable connection to the people around her. She stops in a bar called the Blue Moon, marveling that the rules that once would have kept her out of such a place mean nothing to her anymore. She tells the Portuguese bartender about her plans. It is there that she first sees a redheaded Soldier hanging around the bar.

Stepping out again, F. Jasmine feels that her life is divided into three parts: the past, that day, and the future before her. At one point, she has a strange kind of flash forward, in which she hears the way Berenice would later describe her behavior that afternoon. This paragraph, which is entirely encapsulated with in parentheses, refers back to the time period we have already read about in Part One.

She stops by her father's jewelry store and he tells her that Uncle Charles is dead. F. Jasmine attempts to respond in an adult manner, but her father does not seem impressed.

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Berenice as a foil of Frankie/F. Jasmine

by susan_shehane, June 08, 2014

Berenice's voice rings like a bird's (McCullers 84), suggesting to Frankie that she is "really not in her right mind," even as the latter talks on and on about herself about herself "as though she was somebody very beautiful; this, despite her one wild blue eye, dregs down her face, etc. Frankie views her as something of a wild animal in the past and finds it almost humorous that Berenice always spoke of herself as though she were beautiful. In F. Jasmine's egocentric, 12-year-old world, where she is, of course, the center of the universe a... Read more

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