Member of The Wedding by Carson McCullers

Member of The Wedding

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers is a 1946 novel that explores themes of identity, belonging, race, and gender. The story follows 12-year-old Frankie Addams, a Georgia tomboy who longs to be part of her brother’s upcoming wedding.

Through her journey, she discovers the discomforts of adolescence and the universal rules of life that separate one person from another.

The novel begins with Frankie feeling bored and lonely until she hears about her brother’s wedding. She latches onto the idea of becoming part of the wedding, a member of a unified group.

As she attempts to grow up and seek membership into the adult world, she discovers that certain life rules encumber her. The most important rule has to do with the fact that married couples only include two people, shutting Frankie out of her dream of becoming a threesome with Janice and Jarvis.

Berenice also helps Frankie to understand with greater empathy what a struggle it is for minorities to deal with the division between the races.

In the end, Frankie finds a new friend, Mary Littlejohn, and her father gets ready to move. Berenice decides to quit and get married again. John Henry dies of meningitis. Through this, Frankie learns to accept the rules of life and finds a sense of belonging in her own identity.

What I Liked

I loved how much this book explores in really just a few settings. It’s really amazing.

What I Did Not Like

It’s a bit hard to keep up with plot. There’s a lot said “between the lines” that I completely skipped over. I wouldn’t want to change it, but I wish I’d read it more carefully.

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