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The Member of the Wedding

Carson McCullers

Part Two, Chapter 2

Part Two, Chapter 1

Part Two, Chapter 2, page 2

page 1 of 3

F. Jasmine returns home at two p.m. on Saturday and the narrative continues to cover the period skipped over in Part One. However, it still never mentions the visit from Janice and Jarvis that Berenice and Frankie recapitulated in Part One. Berenice announces that she and John Henry will be accompanying F. Jasmine to the wedding. Also, due to Uncle Charles' death, John Henry will stay with the Addamses for a few days. F. Jasmine worries that the death will detract from the excitement of the wedding.

F. Jasmine tells about her afternoon in town and about the Soldier. When the ever-insightful Berenice asks F. Jasmine if the Soldier was drunk, F. Jasmine is disturbed and claims that people don't do such a thing in the middle of the day. Berenice proceeds to criticize F. Jasmine's plans to join in on the marriage, pointing out to her that Noah admitted only two of each animal into the Ark. F. Jasmine threatens to shoot herself with her father's pistol, should her plan fail.

At four p.m., the three of them sit down to a lengthy dinner and begin to talk about love, a subject F. Jasmine has never discussed. Berenice tells of a couple she knows in which a woman fell in love with a man who later changed had a sex change. F. Jasmine is in disbelief. Berenice says F. Jasmine needs a beau, which is an old fashioned word for boy friend, and suggests Barney MacKean, only to be met with protests. Berenice tells F. Jasmine to be more feminine and F. Jasmine cannot believe Berenice hasn't noticed the change in her, how she is less abrasive and child-like. F. Jasmine is surprised to learn that Berenice, who is over forty, is not interested in settling down with her own beau, T.T., and is still interested in pursuing a good time,so to speak. However, F. Jasmine doesn't really know what having a good time means in the first place. We assume that this means having sex with different men.

While a piano is tuned in the neighborhood, playing incomplete and dissonant scales, F. Jasmine shows Berenice her wedding outfit. Berenice disapproves of the gaudy silver shoes and silver bow, pointing out how ridiculous they look with F. Jasmine's blond crew cut and dirty elbows. F. Jasmine then shivers at the thought of all the dead people she knows.

At five p.m., the three of them have a second round of dinner. They discuss what they would do if they were God and ran the world. John Henry's vision includes a world made entirely of sweet things to eat. Berenice dreams of a time when there is no division between black and white, with no war or hunger. F. Jasmine further breaks down barriers by allowing people to change from boys to girls and back at will. Berenice balks at the laws of nature F. Jasmine would be breaking.

Berenice asks F. Jasmine to tell about her experience when she thought she saw Janice and Jarvis out of the corner of her eye earlier in the afternoon. This experience triggers a memory in Berenice and she describes her first marriage to Ludie, who died not long after they were married. Some time after his death, Berenice spotted the thumb of a man, Jamie Beale, out of the corner of her eye. Ludie had had a mangled thumb, owing to a farming accident. The sight of a new thumb stuck Berenice and not long after she married Jamie.

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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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