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The Member of the Wedding

Carson McCullers

Part Two, Chapter 3

Part Two, Chapter 2

Part Two, Chapter 3, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

F. Jasmine takes off for Sugarville, the African-American part of town, to get Big Mama to tell her fortune. With John Henry in tow, she passes the jail and gawks at the prisoners, marveling at their entrapment. Like the freaks in the carnival, she has always somewhat related to the prisoners.

She and John Henry arrive at Big Mama's house. Big Mama has the skin disease that sometimes affects black people in which large sections of skin will lose all pigment and turn white. F. Jasmine has always thought Big Mama was gradually becoming a white person.

Big Mama puts on her glasses, ready to tell F. Jasmine's fortune. She listens to F. Jasmine's minimalistic dream about opening a door. Big Mama announces that there will be a change in F. Jasmine's life. She says F. Jasmine will attend a wedding, that there will be a journey, and that there will be a return. F. Jasmine is discouraged by the return part, as that is not a part of her hopes.

Midway through the fortune telling, Big Mama shouts at Honey in the next room for him to take his feet off the kitchen table. F. Jasmine marvels that Big Mama must really be clairvoyant, because there was a wall in the way of Honey and no way for Big Mama to know if his feet were up. However, Honey later explains that Big Mama could see him through a mirror.

F. Jasmine remembers that Big Mama once said that Honey was "a boy God had not finished." When she was younger, she used to imagine that this meant he only had half a body and had to hop around on one foot. But with her new maturity she understands the significance: that Honey is just a bit nuts. Somehow, F. Jasmine derives a kind of power from the upcoming wedding and translates that into a bit of advice for Honey. She tells him that he should go to Cuba or Mexico. She says that he has such light skin that he could turn into a Cuban.

F. Jasmine tells John Henry to run on home and goes to meet the Soldier at the Blue Moon. The two of them sit down together and the Soldier buys drinks. Suddenly disturbed by the thought of breaking the law, F. Jasmine pushes her drink away. The two of them talk, but their conversations do not meld; there is a rift between them. Soon, the Soldier pressures her to go upstairs with him and she is reluctant. But she feels she cannot refuse so she follows him into the hotel room. She becomes acutely aware of the foreboding silence, like the calm before the storm. It is like the silence just before she stole from Sears and like when she was with Barney MacKean in his garage.

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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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