If you start with A and go on up to G, there is a curious thing that seems to make the difference between G and A all the difference in the world. Twice as much difference as between any other two notes in the scale. Yet they are side by side there on the piano just as close together as the other notes.

F. Jasmine remarks about the piano tuner who works in the neighborhood while Berenice, John Henry and she try to eat dinner in piece. The noise irritates them, but at the same time, it gives them a kind of existential enlightenment about life, whether they realize they have made this connection or not. The quote describes dissonance, the feeling or sense that something has not come to a resolution. In this case, the literal description is a musical one, such as the disconcerting feeling of hearing a musical scale that is incomplete, resting on the final note before finishing. It serves as a metaphor for the weekend described in the novella. Because Frankie is in a period of dissonance, she feels ill at ease, confused and disconnected with the world. She has a desperate desire to move forward in her life, to find the adulthood that is just out of reach. So she has to find a way to take a step forward to find a kind of resolution that will bring her inner peace. Then, and only then, will she be released from the limbo that traps her during the main events of the story.

The quote also brings to mind a similar concept used by Virginia Woolf in her seminal work, To The Lighthouse. In the novel, an aging professor named Mr. Ramsay is fixated by the metaphorical notion that he can never reach the letter R when going through the alphabet. The alphabet represents his intellectual progression and R represents the apex of knowledge that he can never attain. But it also serves as a representation for his own self—since his last name begins with R—which he can never really know. So he lives in a world of dissonance, dissatisfaction. Woolf describes Mr. Ramsay's intellect in similar terms as McCullers: "It was a splendid mind. For if thought is like the keyboard of a piano, divided into so many notes, of like the alphabet is arranged in twenty-six letters all in order, then his splendid mind had no sort of difficulty in running over those letters one by one, firmly and accurately, until it had reached, say the letter Q." Woolf uses the novel to point out the fallacy of thinking about intellectual pursuits in a linear fashion. Like McCullers, she uses time shifts to break up the notion that we should always expect to walk through life in a straight, predictable line. Only by seeing life more buddistically, as something of a circle, can we escape the gnawing feeling of dissonance. Which all comes together, considering that a musical scale is itself circular and linear at the same time. It is moving forward in a logical line, but always coming home every eight notes.