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The Member of the Wedding

Carson McCullers

Part Three

Part Two, Chapter 3

Part Three, page 2

page 1 of 3

The narrator changes Frankie's name again, this time to Frances. John Henry, Berenice and Mr. Addams and Frances leave the house early Sunday morning and board a bus for Winter Hill, where the wedding is held. Frances remarks to herself that they were supposed to be going north, but instead the bus seemed to be going south. The environment becomes more and more "southern" as they travel the four-hour journey. In this sense, southern is a derogatory term to mean hokey, ugly and provincial.

In the same way that she skips over all of Saturday in Part One and never directly describes Jarvis and Janice's visit, McCullers skims over the wedding in a few vague sentences, describing the event as "like a dream." The only concrete detail she gives us is that Frankie calls out for the married couple to take her with them as the wedding car drives away.

Frances wishes the death of the whole world as they make the journey home. She resents John Henry and her father for not understanding the significance of the wedding. She reflects that the wedding had been much like a series of failed bridge games she had played with John Henry and Berenice earlier in the year. No one ever drew a good hand. Then, finally, they counted the deck and realized that the queens and jacks were all missing. John Henry then admitted that taken out the jacks and subsequently the queens, to keep the jacks company. Unfortunately, Frances cannot explain the failure of the wedding so simply.

She thinks about how all the wedding guests had sill treated her as a child and were constantly putting her in her place by asking what grade she was in. Jarvis treated her as if she were just a monkey he could bounce on her knee. She had wanted so badly to explain her feeling of connection to the married couple, but she was never able to.

She tries to insist to everyone that her rabid desire to get into the getaway car was just a joke and Berenice quietly pretends to believe her and then changes the subject. She tells Frances that they should plan a dual bridge and costume party for her and invite some friends.

When they return to their hometown, the air is heavy with the threat of a coming storm. Its color has changed into a purple-gray. But the rain never falls, leaving a sense of foreboding dissonance.

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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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